It seems as though airlines are in a race to inconvenience their passengers the most. I can remember when air travel was a pleasure and a positive experience. When traveling between Philadelphia and my Montana home, I’d actually enjoy an unscheduled layover at my intermediate point of Minneapolis/St. Paul. If the airline carrier would experience mechanical problems they would give you a room for your overnight stay, provide transportation and give you meal tickets. And always give you a voucher of 50 percent or more for travel anywhere within the continental U.S. to be used any date within the next 12 months.
Those days of “Fly the Friendly Skies” are over.
Because I’m now retired, I’m blessed to depend on airlines for three to four trips a year. Each time I’ve flown in recent years, the experience has gone from bad to unbelievable.
Have you noticed that when your flight is delayed, in a vast majority of incidents the delay is blamed on inclement conditions or other acts of God beyond control of the carrier. I’ve witnessed delays and cancellations due to airline shortcomings. They insult our intelligence. It reminds me of what has been happening at the White House for more than four years. Airline executives sit in their downtown suites, away from the airports, and direct their peons to deal with irate customers. I truly feel sorry for these front-line employees who must forfeit their integrity by enforcing board room greed.
Yes, there have been added inconveniences since the horrifics of 9/11. The flying public realizes certain constraints must be made for security in this 21st century. However, where has honesty, courtesy, being helpful and understanding gone?
I know the vast majority of TSA employees are honest citizens, but there are always a few bad apples. Five weeks ago I had two friends fly into Myrtle Beach and as the slips had noted, agents had gone through their bags. Both ladies had items missing. They reported this to TSA superiors and were told to submit a complaint. This is a procedure that cannot work. Simply to identify thieves, just put an associated number or some form of ID that identifies the inspecting agent to his/her superior.
Upon my friend’s departure April 8, she had two suitcases for checking. One weighed 43.5 pounds and the second was 41.5 pounds. Ms. Congeniality gave her a choice: either pay an additional $55 each or remove clothing from each bag. We removed several items and went to security for screening. While waiting in line, another lady with a child said she was 10 pounds over on two pieces but she was allowed entry without additional costs. Good for that lady, she hit the airline lottery by getting a sympathetic agent who may one day lose his job for being kind.
Now, returning to Orville and Wilbur Wright. Imagine for a moment those two experiencing the beauty of flight they invented. Imagine that they returned every decade to see the evolution of their invention. They’d be amazed how their simple flight machine advanced for the good of humanity until around 2005. How would they evaluate airline service? Very few direct flights. For a 2,100 mile journey that used to take 5 1/2 hours, it now involves four changes and 15 hours, if you’re lucky. Charges change from day to day without reason or explanation. Flights are canceled for no crew or not enough passengers. Charges for absolutely everything. Overhead storage, all seating seems to be priority, no first class and coach.
They want to cram you in like a sardine. I’m surprised they’re not weighing people. Ha! They now even charge for water, and don’t try to pay cash, they want a credit card.
The writer lives in Lincoln, Mont., and Myrtle Beach.