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Modern Air Travelers Turbulent
As one who does a fair bit of flying (on commercial airplanes; I still don’t have that “up, up and away” thing quite worked out) I believe I have identified the biggest problem in modern air travel:
Modern air travelers.
Not you and me, of course. We are polite, thoughtful, considerate passengers who go out of our way to make a trip pleasant, ever mindful of the others with whom we share our journeys. Really, I can’t say enough good about us, as passengers go. Our mothers raised us right.
No, I’m talking about the other 99 percent, the boorish slobs who seem to have nothing better to do than ride around on airplanes being obnoxious and making air travel such a pain that you just want to tell the pilot to set it down anywhere, you’ll walk the rest of the way.
Maybe you can tell I just got off a plane.
The biggest problem on my latest flight wasn’t the people as much as it was their belongings, as in carry-on luggage.
To illustrate, I give you Dude (that was the only name his traveling companions seemed to call him) who rode with me on a flight from Philadelphia. Dude, dressed in the standard young person’s traveling uniform of ratty t-shirt, cargo shorts and flip-flops, was one of the last on the plane, moving slow, and toting a piece of “carry-on” luggage the size of a console television.
(This confirms my theory that nobody uses those “your carry-on must fit into this box” boxes you see around the airport. Except as trash bins.)
Dude came down the aisle with the bag on his back looking for an overhead compartment. Fat chance. These days, every seat on every plane is occupied. Always. And since everyone brings carry-on luggage, the overheads are always jammed with suitcases, briefcases, shopping bags, duffels, knapsacks and children under 40 lbs.
So Dude set about reshuffling everyone’s carry-ons, moving them from compartment to compartment until nobody knew where his or her bag was and he finally had enough room to stow his steamer trunk. Then he set off in search of his seat, which happened to be about 13 rows forward.
You know where this is going: The plane landed and rather than wait, Dude did the old salmon-against-the-tide routine, fighting the deplaning traffic to go to the rear of the plane for his bag.
People were furious. I thought one old lady with a cane was going to make a base hit out of him. Dude, of course, was oblivious, which is probably the way he goes through life.
If I ran the world, there would be no carry-ons other than purses and briefcases. All other bags would be checked. I know, I know. Bags would get lost. Well, how about we impose severe penalties on the airlines for lost luggage --say, $100 per bag per day until they’re recovered? Bet that would cut down on the losses right quick.
Look, air travel is tough enough already. The airlines treat us like annoyances at best – how dare we clog up their nice, empty plane and then demand to be taken to the place on our ticket at the published time? TSA treats us like criminals. How do we respond? We confirm their judgments with our behavior.
Anyone remember the friendly skies?
© 2011 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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