Flying used to be fun a long time ago.
As a kid — I remember being so excited that I couldn’t sleep the night before I was set to board a plane. Packing was always the most fun. Trying to figure out what to bring and not over pack (I still haven’t mastered that one yet). Not only was there ease in dropping someone off at the airport, but also, you could join them at the gate and see them board the plane. Pulling up to the curb and waiting for someone to collect their luggage was no big deal –- you just wait in the car. Sweet memories huh?
As an adult — my focus is the destination — because if I spend more than 10 minutes focusing on the travel, I probably wouldn’t make it. Sure, the world has changed and our desire for security dictates to a certain degree — our level of comfort, but good service and courtesy seems to be the only things compromised. I don’t know, maybe we never had it.
TSA – the Transportation Security Administration fits the profile of a government run agency –- a lack of organized execution, too many people doing too little, where common sense and logic aren’t encouraged. The goal seems to be to mimic the amusement park strategy without the amusement: process large groups of people by implementing one-size-fits-all applications. Large umbrella organizations almost always lack direction because job security is more important than customer satisfaction and appreciation.
I don’t mind removing my computer from the case, emptying my pockets, taking off my jacket, removing my slip-on shoes or walking through the x-ray machine 4 times (final reason: unknown – which means – the machine needs service or I’ve unknowingly swallowed a metal object). Naturally, this scenario doesn’t fit the norm, but you’d think I wasn’t the first person to go through this right? Well, you wouldn’t know based on the next decision.
Solution: “Sir, we need to check your luggage, please follow me” – huh? Apparently a bottle of shaving cream – in my bag – which was examined twice, was the cause of my inability to get through the x-ray machine four times. Ah-ha!! Makes sense to me. When there’s no obvious reason, make one up! Clearly we’re all in good hands.
Now, it’s not all bad – most airlines have adopted the bank ATM mentality, which gives the traveler a greater degree of independence and that is a good thing. You can print your ticket, get up-to-date flight info on your phone and plan accordingly. A smart cost cutting measure I’m sure, which doesn’t explain why ticket prices are increasing while oil prices drop. Kudos to the airlines, but as they adjust the business plan to increase their profit margin, the traveler also adjusts their travel habits to decrease their expenses.
Charging more to bring an extra bag? Fine — pack more into the carry-on, which won’t fit in the overhead bin. Problem solved right? Nope. Problem created. The airline has affectively pitted everyone against one another like a boxing promoter, think – Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. First come/first serve. Why else would anyone with an assigned seat crowd the boarding gate when you know you’re sitting in the middle or rear of the plane? It’s definitely not because they can’t wait to read the Sky Mall magazine. Nice ripple effect huh?
I used to rationalize not flying first class (besides the fact that I couldn’t afford it) by saying, ‘they feel the same turbulence I do” — well – maybe they don’t. Flying just isn’t fun anymore.
Erykah Badu sang it best – “Can I get a window seat, don’t want nobody next to me.”