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Could They Make Flying Any More Uncomfortable?

Written by: Kuki

Ever since “way back when” I’ve had a fear of flying. They have me as soon as we pull up to the airport. What were they thinking making me look at a large sign declaring “TERMINAL” ?

It never got to the point that I would refuse to fly, but every time I have to fly my palms get sweaty, I need a heavy dose of antiperspirant, so my shirt doesn’t look like I was strolling in a hurricane after landing. And as I board the airplane my butt cheeks squeeze together so hard I could carry my spare change there. Not at all the best characteristics for a travel writer.

And that was even in the “old days” before the airlines began to squeeze the seats together to fit more passengers into the spaces designed for less, and when they used to pass out almost edible meals on longer flights, which would keep me occupied for at least some of the trip. It’s much worse these days when you have a choice of purchasing diarrhoea causing food at airport kiosks, or, if you forgot, you can buy it on the airplane. Either way the results are the same… people always standing in line for the upright casket-sized washrooms onboard.

Inevitably my seat is across from the casket, and the odour emanating from it always reminds me of this guy in high school who I always got stuck sitting near, who hadn’t bathed since pre-school. We called him Chuckie because being within smelling range of him made you want to chuck.

It has surely taken the airlines much time and much thought to determine what other things they could come up with to make sure their customers arrive to their destinations totally miserable.Their latest attempts to reach this goal began with placing weight limits on passengers checked baggage. Though we passengers grumbled somewhat, we adapted, and we simply packed less.

 After a time most of the airlines, as a group, seemed to grow quite depressed at our lack of outrage and lack of backlash to their weight limit restrictions. They felt the only way for to them to really rile us up was to begin charging for any checked bags. The airline execs must have enjoyed watching videos of people bringing carry-on bags the size of a Prius, banging them against their fellow passengers as they passed down the aisle, as they seeminlgy made it policy to quit using those little metal boxes at the counter with signs telling passengers their carry-ons must fit that space.

And while the airline executives filled boardrooms laughing at that tactic, and slapping each other on the back, one of them came up with yet another idea with which to “slap us around”; and the idea to charge for checking in at the airport was born. They thought it was just wonderful… like selling you a ticket to a concert, and then charging you if you actually want to attend.

I wish I’d had a job where the most important part of my day would have been for me finding inventive and amusing ways to torture my clientele. If that had been the case I’d have stuck around just for the entertainment value.

I have no choice but to fly, and tolerate the indignations they place upon us during the experience. Are you flying less as a result of all these changes? Are you looking for cruise embarkation cities nearby to avoid flying? Or are you, like me, burying your face in your chest and shuffling through the airport like the accepting downtrodden client, waiting to hand over your credit cards to cover the next new charge they’re going to invent?

_ A View From the Kuki Side of Cruising -

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Comments

Comment from Mike M
Time July 15, 2009 at 12:33 pm

Kuki,

I have laughed and cried over the years at your mis-adventures in flying. I do think that there is some sort of “flying spirit” that is REALLY pissed at you. :)

In all my years of flying I haven’t had your problems and I know that if we ever flew together I would book another flight. :) )

I hope the “Flying Spirit” is finally over you and that your future flights are uneventful and boring.

Take care,
Mike

Comment from Dave Beers
Time July 15, 2009 at 1:51 pm

The actual flying part doesn’t bother me. I flew all over the planet during my military years, usually packed into a C-130 along with the pallets and other cargo. I am planning to get my pilot’s license.

But commercial air has gotten to be a major annoyance with the narrow seats, extra fees, fighting for overhead bin space, TSA, etc. I try to upgrade to 1st/business whenever possible, and frankly am dreading flying to London and back in coach seats for the Celebrity Equinox press event in two weeks. 9 hours in coach…two times in a week….yuck!

Next summer we are doing a cruise from Mobile because I can drive there in a few hours. I may branch out on the driving radius and get more ports just to avoid the flying hassles.

Maybe John Madden isn’t so crazy after all!

Comment from Paul Motter
Time July 16, 2009 at 5:43 am

What I don’t understand are these people who just “know” how to get upgrades. How do you do that? I don’t have a clue. In all my years of flying I have been upgraded once – just once. And it was fantastic.

The worst is the middle seat, though.

One thing I have found that makes flying much more tolerable is ear plugs. It cuts down all the sound from the air rushing to the people trying to shout over it.

I think most people have no idea how loud the ambient sound of a typical airplane cabin can be. Earplugs and a good book also stop people from trying to engage you in inane conversations.

Comment from Dave Beers
Time July 16, 2009 at 7:10 am

Upgrade is often a misused word, and I’m afraid I am guilty. In my case I have gone from coach to first class once in my life without paying for it. However I have bought my way into first or business class several times, most recently for just $85 – well worth it in my opinion.

Comment from Mike M
Time July 16, 2009 at 11:52 am

Paul:

Rarely do you receive an upgrade out of the blue. People who say they were upgraded usually get it by being a upper level member of a FF program, use miles to upgrade or use an upgrade coupon.

I have only been upgraded, for “free”, a few times and that was because of canceled flights, giving up my seat when the plane was overbooked or knowing the agent.

Take care,
Mike

Comment from Bill Carlisle
Time July 21, 2009 at 6:19 pm

Ever the contrarian, I have a fear of NOT flying. Or possibly being routed from OK City to Calgary via Dallas, Denver, and LA as one couple in our SAI chorus was in 2007. They arrived two days later than scheduled, which would have been disastrous had we been cruising rather than singing. They missed only one practice. I know, Kuki, there is no port in Calgary; just making a comparison.<:-)
We cruise from Mobile, NOLA , Jacksonville, Tampa or Port Canaveral. All are within a day’s drive.

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