Rant of the week: Why Traveling Is for the Birds v2

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jm_picxThis is an updated version of a blog I wrote last year. While traveling this past week, it reminded me of the great cattle prod in the sky.

We  were all set, seated and ready to take off when the pilot made the announcement that the flight was delayed temporarily because the toilets needed to be cleaned, and that they were waiting on a cleaning crew. The duration of the flight was only 40 minutes, and I thought, heck, let’s just chance it. An hour later, still no cleaning crew, and the captain came on and said that they weren’t going to wait any longer. Let’s just chance it. Hmmm.

My job affords me the opportunity to travel across this great nation; however, getting there is a different story. I would describe myself as one that flies regularly, on different airlines. When I was younger, I detested air travel because I feared the irrational — a possible airline disaster. Now I just detest air travel because of the overall experience.

Here are my top 5 gripes about air travel:

Delays  — I am all for airline safety. If there is something mechanically wrong with plane, or there is bad weather imminent, by all means, ground the plane. But…

• Have you ever boarded the first plane out for the day only to find out there is a problem? Why don’t maintenance and crew inspect the plane BEFORE passengers get on, and, subsequently, off the plane?

• Have you ever been delayed because the crew isn’t even there yet? I made the effort to get there two hours early, why can’t the crew?

• Have you ever been delayed because the restroom didn’t work. How about ants on the plane? No joke, ants. How did they get on there?

• Have you ever had the in-flight crew boast about getting you to your destination on time or even early to find out there is another plane sitting at your gate once landed? Fun times.

Charges  — It seems that everything has a charge now. You want a blanket little girl, that’s $95. You have to check in bags, that’s $75. Whose idea was it to charge for the checking in of bags, anyway? Now everyone carries on a monstrosity of a bag. In groups 3, 4 or 5? Good luck trying to get your bag in the overhead compartment.I do get a kick out of watching people— who refuse to gate check their ginormous bags—try to get their luggage in the overhead compartment.

And Wi-Fi? For God’s sake, hide the fee in the ticket price and let’s pretend it’s free once onboard. I’m sorry, but WiFi should be free. At every airport. On every plane. I’d rather you just charge me $10 extra in the ticket price for the flight than trying to charge $10 for the use of WiFi. Perhaps I’m getting greedy, but why can’t there be charging stations set up intermittently throughout the airport? I realize that some airports do a better job of this, but I am looking for consistency here people!

Comfort  — Traveling is not an exercise in comfort these days. From practically disrobing in front of 50 of your closest friends in the security line…Again, I am all for safety! And then you get on the plane and the next thing you know, you are seated next to a fat guy who has fallen asleep and drooling all over you. And I am that fat guy! UPDATE: When flying this week, a reserve pilot sitting next to me on the flight said, “I think all of the passengers are on the plane. Why don’t you move to the empty seat behind us, or I could, ya know, move back there. These seats on this flight are very small.” I get it, I’m fat.

Atmosphere — Why must you take your shoes off, sweaty man sitting next to me? Why must you chat throughout the entire flight about things I never thought I’d hear, ladies to the left of me? TMI! Why do you seat me next to the crying baby? Why did you open that ziploc bag of freshly boiled broccoli? No joke! Why must you sneeze on the back of my neck, bird flu man?

This post is based off my experiences flying. I do give huge props to all the men and women in the airline industry that make it work, and work hard at their jobs. I never underestimate the value of safe travels.

UPDATE: Rental Cars: Reciting the Seinfeld skit on rental cars, the essence of making a rental car reservation is so that THE CAR IS WAITING THERE WHEN YOU ARRIVE! Nope. Arrive at the counter only to be told that the car/class of car is not on the lot so take a seat.

And then this just happened: I proceeded to the checkout gate when the young lady examines my contract, asks a few questions and says, “You’re all set. Happy Holidays.” I say thank you and go on my merry way only to have this happen…

photoI jumped out of the car and the woman says, “Yep, the gate didn’t go down all the way. I got to call Carl and he’ll be over in a second. Carl, it happened again…”

Have any travel nightmares?

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