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What’s Wrong With Flying

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Flying  PHX (Phoenix Sky Harbor) to YYC (Calgary International) direct non-stop; flying time 2:38 minutes. It sounds simple and easy enough, right?

Admittedly, I am a pathetic flier. Even before the various security measures were (necessarily) put in place I was a terrible, white knuckle, flier.  And naturally, with all the heavens lined up against me,  the majority of the times I fly I find myself involved with some sort of foible.  I’ve had luggage lost numerous times all over the world. 

 Heck, I’ve even had my luggage lost, found, and then lost  again on the same trip. Though I have never had to suffer the ultimate “glitch” and have my luggage lost permanently. The truth is I’ve come to accept those sorts of indignities as part and parcel of traveling.

However, as I’ve grown older, I have become impatient with the inefficiencies of the system in getting me, never mind my luggage, to my destinations. The feeling is magnified considerably on shorter haul flights, such as the route I flew yesterday.

In preparation for yesterday’s flight, I checked in on my smart phone, and signed up for text message notification of changes. Prior to departing for the airport I went on my computer to check the “flight status” for my flight, and as a precaution also checked on the “flight status” of the incoming flight (that would be the aircraft I’d be boarding for my flight). 

 The arriving flight was showing delayed by 20 minutes, but my departure time was still listed as “on time”.  One would be lead to assume the airline believed they would make up some time in flight, and succeed at a quick turnaround.

Even en route to the airport, I checked the flight status of both flights using my smart phone, and it was still unchanged, and I’d received no notification of any change either.  Upon arriving at the airport check in counter, to drop my luggage,  I was informed my flight would be delayed.

This being an international flight, I was expected to be at the airport 2 hours prior to departure.

Once on board the pilot offered an apology to the passengers, explaining the delay was caused by strong head winds on the way in… with no mention of their late departure on the earlier leg in.  He did say that because we’d have a tail wind going back they would likely make up the time in the air, which seemed logical enough.

Once the airplane go into the air the trip was (for me, oddly) quite uneventful. However, of course, even after pulling back from the gate late, we sat on the tarmac for some time waiting for a runway to taxi to. And surprisingly we were not able to make up any time in the air. But… it was only a 2 hr. 38 minute flight.

When we did arrive to our destination, there was over a 30 minute wait for the luggage to start flowing around the carousel. I was in shock when my bags were in the first group to drop down, as the usual in my case is to be standing waiting until the entire arrival area has emptied, when suddenly my lonely bags appear, or do not.

The problem flying today is not really all the incidents of things going wrong that I’ve described above. We are all rather used to that being the rule of air travel these days. And in comparison this flight experience had a minimum of disruption.

The real problem is that this ” reasonable” flight experience ate up 7 hours of my time (from arriving at the airport to leaving the terminal) for a 2hr 38 minute flight.  That occurred despite my using the modern technology available, and despite the fact this was what all would consider a fairly reasonable flight experience with minimum disruption.

If this is “the norm” for flying, is it any wonder more and more people are avoiding flying, and more and more people hate even the idea of booking a flight?

The cruise lines understood the ” I hate flying” attitude was growing awhile ago, and in response “invented” “home port cruising”,  to allow many more people the ability to drive to their ship.

– A View From The Kuki Side of Cruising –

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Comment from Michael Latham
Time June 23, 2012 at 6:37 am

World travel by any means relies on careful planning in an attempt to make the experience as smooth as possible. Take as much guidance as you can !

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