I disdain air travel. I hate everything about it. If taking a boat or a train were a viable option, I would give up flying all together. I cannot say that I have ever had a pleasant flying experience. At best, it has been tolerable. Why do I hate air travel so passionately? Listen up TSA, I’m about to get specific.
5. Tick’ed Off
My frustration starts long before I have to enter an airport. searching for the lowest priced tickets from thousands of online vendors leaves me exhausted. Then when I find the lowest price, I discover after entering in all my information that the price will be almost doubled after hidden taxes and fees are added on. I hate you false advertising. By then I feel it is too late to search another site because ticket prices change by the minute.
4. Baggage Fees
When I flew to Buenos Aires, the first leg of my trip was a one-way ticket from West Coast to East coast. I brought only one suitcase, and my old jansport backpack to carryon. At the check-in counter I typed in my confirmation code to the automatic check-in machine. I announced that I had a bag to check, and the machine informed me that to check one bag, I must pay an extra $100 dollars. This was almost half the price of my $230 ticket that I mistakenly thought was a good deal. They use automated machines now to further demoralize you the consumer. It’s impossible to argue with a machine. I had no other option but to pay this surprise fee. The diabolic airline company knows they have you in a stranglehold. What are you going to do? Cancel your trip with no refund?
Thanks American Airlines for such a pleasant last memory of my homeland.
3. Like Sheep to the Slaughter
That’s right, line up to get x-rayed at airport “security”. This is the part where I get the angriest. I hate feeling rushed as I’m forced to strip off my shoes and sweater (once a security airport guard made me take off my sweater that I was wearing as a shirt, making me pass through security in a tank top that I was wearing in lieu of a bra. Are you seeing a lot of young women strapping bombs under their merino sweaters these days?) Then you have to unpack your laptop, every lipstick, lotion, hand sanitizer and juice box you might have in your purse. Immediately after stripping everything off, you have to pack it all up again, being rushed the whole time by the guards. It seems absolutely ludicrous that we let anyone treat us so inhumanely.
You know TSA, for all the trouble you put American citizens through, you still are remarkably unreliable at stopping actual terrorists.
2. THE BODY SCAN
On recent trip, a certain family member (FM) of mine was “randomly selected” to undergo a body scan. It is a family joke that she is always ‘randomly selected’ at airports because she looks like the great granddaughter of El Che. It certainly isn’t random, it is racial profiling. Since this new body scan is optional, FM opted instead to be frisked by a TSA member. The airport security worker snapped at her to wait to the side, where FM then waited for several minutes. After waiting some time she asked if she could be checked and continue on her way. The Security guard snapped that she ‘had to wait, and refusing to undergo the scan automatically elevated her flight status to ‘suspected terrorist’. Yeah, you heard me – if you don’t do this completely degrading, invasive, privacy robbing body scan then YOU ARE A TERRORIST. Is anyone else mad?!?!
1. The Flight Itself
By the time you make it to your seat on the plane, everyone is in such a bad mood, after being ripped off, subjected to dehumanizing “security checks” and poked, prodded and herded like animals until they make it to the gate. To add insult to injury, airlines like to remind us that we do live in a classist society, and that we the masses deserve to be treated like animals in a cattle car, while those who can pay for it are treated decently in business class. Then you have to spend the next few hours in a seat far too tiny for the average American, with the person in front of you fully reclined, and the screaming toddler behind you incessantly kicking your seat. Grumpy stewardesses come around offering you a menu of disgusting airline food for purchase. No wonder so many feel the need to pop pills or self medicate before flying. Should you be sober, it is enough to make anyone crazy.
So one question Americans, WHY THE HELL DO WE PUT UP WITH THIS S**T!?
On a short flight from Buenos Aires to Santiago Chile, I had a revelation. Air travel doesn’t have to be so anger inducing. My two-hour international flight was SO EASY! No extra, secret baggage fees were charged. The immigrations officers were friendly and non intrusive. Security went quickly. I wasn’t forced to strip or take off my shoes. They had no ‘full body scan machine’. The security guards were friendly, helpful and polite even, when asking to scan my cosmetic kit twice. No one was in a rush, no one seemed angry, and if you can believe it – my plane left earlier than scheduled. The cabin wasn’t overcrowded, and drinks and snacks were served as a complimentary flight perk. I never felt any fear or worry that some “terrorist” might try to blow up the plane, because no one was stressed or angry. It was honestly the only time I have felt at ease on a plane.
If they want to make airplanes and airports safe places – why don’t they first start by treating their patrons with respect? The American people are being punished for someone else’s crime – and flying has become a real nightmare.
Check this out: http://www.flightsfromhell.com/