Friday, October 05, 2007

Air Travel Dislikes

I just got back from a trip to sunny Sacramento, and I have to make a few comments about air travel. Needless to say, I hate it. Let me just list a few things about air travel that make me sick.

1. It is designed for business, and not family. I was on this trip alone, but as a member of a big family, I find it disheartening to see travel by air become the property of the business class. The people on planes hate children. They will ask stewardesses to move them away from young children, they will shoot mean looks at kids under the age of 10, and they mutter under there breath about how awful children are.
2. The sole reason Democrats are able to play the ‘rich vs. poor’ card and get it to work is air travel. I understand people buying first class seats get better service, and I can even live with them getting on the plane early. However, United Airlines has given their ‘premium’ customers a special lane to help them get through security faster. Security is about safety, not about money. That one just annoys me. And, United also provides a red carpet for those ‘premium passengers’ during the ticket taking process. I am serious. There is a red carpet at every gate that people who miles points or in first class get to stand on while their ticket is taken, and then it is roped off so everyone else has to go through a different line. Just for the record cutting across the red carpet to get to the second class passenger line is frowned upon.
3. LAX is the worst airport in the world. Oddly enough it has nothing to do with air traffic or crowds. It is too big to appear clean. It was not really dirty, just not overly clean. In addition to that, I expected more out of LAX. It is a giant airport, larger than most normal sized cities. Yet, if you don’t like McDonalds or are not adventures enough to eat Mexican right before getting on a plane with one bathroom, you are going to starve to death in LAX. The Delta wing had nothing besides those two options. The United Wing had a few other highly overpriced stores like ‘Wolfgang Puck Express’ (isn’t the point of Wolfgang Puck restaurants to eat Wolfgang Puck type food? Is not an Express version of that self-defeating?) or one pizzeria that I saw make at least three different people late for flights. Minneapolis has tons of restaurants, Denver at least has multiple fast food chains like Burger King, but LAX has nothing.
4. People never obey the rules. It does not matter how many times flight attendants, gate keepers, or ticket takers tell the business passenger that the suitcase designed to fit in overhead bins of a 747 do not fit into the overhead bins or under the seat of ‘puddle-jumpers’ they will take them on and try it anyway. You have to pry those things from their cold dead fingers. Then the airlines let them put it under their feet, but not properly stowed away. That way it serves as a nice projectile if turbulence hits and can crowd the already non-existent space of the person sitting next to them. Don’t even get me started on staying buckled until the seat belt light is off.
5. Cell-phones. I am the only person in America that does not own a cell-phone. One is not allowed to use a cell-phone during flight, and that is good. However, I was unaware that not talking during the flight necessitated people to talk on the phone until the very last minute when the stewardess asks them to turn it off. It also means that as soon as the announcement states it is okay to use cell-phones again (if not before), everyone must either text someone or phone someone. If you have a cell-phone and are not on it as the plane is on the way to the gate, it is a sure sign that you are a social outcast.

Those are my thoughts about the trip. I will get back to blogging as soon as I can.


Jay said...

It's too bad you couldn't have traveled on a more populist airline like Southwest. They don't even have assigned seats, much less first class ones. Families and children are, in my experience, welcomed. It is the closest thing to airborne mass transit. I kept hoping that all the bankruptcies would lead to some new ideas about how to run an airline, but so far it hasn't.

I think you got some bad luck on the airport food. I know DCA has just put in a Five Guys burgers and a Potbelly's sandwiches. Cheap and good fast food.

And finally, I hate to say it, but there are a lot more things than air travel that allow Dems to play the 'rich vs. poor' card. High-end seats at sporting events jump immediately to mind, but I bet there are a lot more examples.

Glad you're back from your trip.

Andrea Powell said...

Wow. I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. I don't fly a lot, but the few times I have, even with little children, I've had a good experience. I wonder how much that has to do with the area in which I am flying. I live and usually fly to places that are within more family-friendly parts of the nation. On the other hand, I am woefully unobservant, and all this may be going on around me.
So, should I take this post to mean you are in favor of a Flyer's Bill of Rights (or whatever they call it)?

Lee said...

I am not in favor of a Flyer's Bill of Rights mainly because the actually Bill of Rights is ignored enough, I have no faith more paper will be treated any differently. I do wish that all the airlines going bankrupt would have actually led to better smaller airlines being able to buy the Delta planes at dirt cheap prices and bring a more family friendly type of flying to skies, but bankruptcy seems to be just a way to raise ticket prices and force the unions into submission.

I have not had the pleasure of flying Southwest yet, but some of the people in California argued that the lack of assigned seats is actualy not family friendly because it could lead to large families being separated. They preferred Frontier or Jet Blue (some people swear by Jet Blue). Yet even including Southwest the family friendly airlines are small and few.

You are probably right about there being more reasons the Dems can use the class warfare image, but the airlines is a good example.

Larry Geiger said...

I don't have a cell phone.
Who are all those people talking to?
I just don't get it.