Okay, I wrote most of this a week ago, but I wanted to share it. I got my pictures from my trip organized this week and I’ll post some in the next day or so.
I’m actually writing this on an airplane, on the way to see Certain Someone. Anyone who has flown in the last few years will be able to relate to this post. So will anyone who is old enough to remember when flying didn’t suck.
It’s kind of cool that I can actually take a computer on an airplane (wireless disabled, of course), but the surroundings leave much to be desired. If you haven’t flown in years, you must be warned. In no particular order, here are five ways flying sucks today.
In order to make more money, the airlines have crammed in extra seats. I’m not a fat girl, but I’m a tall one. My legs are long, my arms are long, and now there’s nowhere to put them. Right now I’m in the aisle seat in the back of an S80, by the galley, and the butt and hips of every single person on their way to the bathroom is helping me type this.
No more free food
Want a snack? Bring one. Really. Most airlines are phasing out the peanuts (because of allergies) and even the pretzels aren’t a freebie anymore. The only thing left is a tiny cup that holds a third of a can of soda, and ice. If you get hungry, you can purchase a single serving bag of chips for $4.00. I put a baggie of pears and a little Jack Links snack packet in my backpack. But on the initial leg of my flight, the plane was so tiny I had to cram it in the overhead compartment and spent the entire time gazing mournfully at the ceiling where my food sat, mocking me.
Fees, fees, fees
A fee for checking a bag. That used to be free. A fee for the snacks. A fee for calling someone on the phone to book your ticket. (Hint: do it online for free, and don’t go through those travel sites.) A convenience fee for buying a ticket. A 9/11 fee, presumably to cover the gubmint’s efforts to squash dem nasty terrorists. Who the hell knows what that is, anyway?
At least the carryon is still free, but watch out. Spirit Airlines already tried to stick that one in. Next they’ll cut off cabin pressure and charge you to use the oxygen masks. “You wanna breathe? That’ll be $10 for every hour you’re in the air.”
Yes, I know airlines have done this since the beginning of time , and I’m not a frequent flyer, although the long-distance thing has had me crammed into that little metal tube more and more lately. And nearly every flight I’ve been on has been stuffed to the gills. Why is overbooking even necessary? You bump me, and there will be tears. You don’t want to see that.
Transportation Security Administration! With checked baggage fees, packing for security sucks. I managed to get most of my things for a four-day weekend into a duffle and a backpack. A three-ounce bottle of conditioner won’t cut it for my thick hair. And just remember, tiny planes don’t hold big bulky carryons, people. I packed right; your giant rolling bag that just hit me in the head needs to be checked.
A lot of people are calling this security theater. When Adam Savage of Mythbusters got through the line with two twelve-inch razor blades in his clothing, I had to agree. (Link contains a bit of language.) It’s very true that it’s a reactive agency, and unfortunately TSA security personnel aren’t experts. If you want real security, do it the way the Israelis do.
Until we come up with a way that actually works, here are some tips to get through the line, from the horse’s mouth. This is the first time I’ve flown with a computer too, so I was a nervous wreck worrying someone would nick it. Luckily I’ve chosen smaller airports with less people and shorter lines, plus I didn’t wear or bring anything TSA peeps would need to stop me for.
I’ll be flying again, and you probably will be too, since we don’t have a better alternative just yet (transporters, anyone?). Let’s all remember our manners and make it less sucky for the next guy.