Once upon a time in a land far, far away Americans thought it was fun to fly. People dressed up and were delighted with the adventure of flight when there was legroom and meals on plates or at least plastic containers.
Then 9/11 happened and the country suffered and mourned. Over time we adjusted to long lines of folks waiting to get through security, to taking off our shoes and to careful packing. Passengers adjusted and adjusted and adjusted.
The airlines adjusted as well. They simply colluded with one another. Seeing an opportunity to make money, they cut back on leg room – packing people together like solid brown sugar. Food disappeared. We can’t even get peanuts anymore because some people are allergic to them. Worst of all they cut back on flights. As a result, a trip to Atlanta might go through Los Angeles to Denver to Chicago to Atlanta. Where a trip once took six hours, it now takes ten or more with two layovers and plane changes.
Of course between the TSA and individual airlines, packing clothes and essentials now demands the flexibility and determination of an extreme rock climber. We can only carry on one quart bag to hold all our liquids and gels. This decision must have been made by men. A carry on must be a certain size, but that size may be different on different airlines. I flew with the bag on Southwest, but couldn’t take the same bag on United. These measurements are on the internet, so a person must also be a researcher in order to pack. My husband is a bag-purchasing fanatic and we must have measured ten small backpacks, a briefcase and my purse that I’d carried on every Southwest flight I’d taken for ten years. Even the purse was too big for United.
Fewer planes are flying to get everyone where they need to go. In order to get to Atlanta in September I had to fly in a day before I wanted to be there and fly out the day after I wanted to leave. That means I had to pay to stay in hotels two days more than I wanted. I can’t afford to fly and pay my hotel bills.
The terrorists of 9/11 won. They turned flight in the United States into a trial to endure. We can put a man on the moon, etc., but we can’t supply quality flight because the airlines have us over the proverbial barrel. As a nation, we can do better than that if we want to. All we have to do is convince the airlines that service is more important than profits. The terrorists must take great pleasure in watching Americans abuse one another.