One hears it all the time: Why can’t air travel be like it was in the old days - something special; something that people looked forward to; time well spent on the way to your destination?
Those of us with a certain number of rings around the trunk can harken back to the time when traveling by airplane meant you wanted to look your best, act your best, and be treated in the best possible way by your onboard hosts. Flying was an adventure, whether you were a kid looking forward to meeting the pilot in the cockpit before takeoff, or an adult waiting for a pillow, a glass of bubbly and a hot meal served with a smile by the friendly in-flight team. Yes, there were actually times when you weren’t in a such a hurry to reach your destination - you were actually having a good time getting there! (No, I’m not kidding.)
If you missed all this, well, sorry. It’s not your grandmother’s air travel experience any more. Given the issues of the day facing the airlines - tightened security; compressed flight schedules; shrinking budgets; and reduced onboard amenities (that includes leg room) - one’s chances of actually having a pleasant trip are greatly diminished. Yes, if your travel budget gets you seated in the first or business class cabin, your experience will be enhanced to a great degree. Generally speaking, however, it’s a slog one way or another.
And, your fellow passengers aren’t blameless, either. On some flights, it’s difficult to tell whether people are actually trying to look anywhere near their best - I mean, should I be buying stock in a sweatpants company? No doubt the airlines have made comfort an unattainable passenger objective, but for the sake of human dignity we really need to pay more attention to how we present ourselves when we’re flying in an enclosed tube for an extended period of time amongst a couple hundred other fellow sufferers.
Regaining any semblance of a pleasant air travel experience, from check-in to baggage claim, may be an unreasonable expectation - but I do think it’s worth an effort, and I will address my thoughts on the matter in future blog postings. In the meantime, on your next trip, look for the guy in the rumpled blue blazer, trying to make it all the way to SFO without using the restroom. Please say hello.