Anyone who has experienced air travel anytime during the past few years knows it has its downsides – lots of downsides. Complications begin long before boarding the plane.
The torment begins with the simple act of purchasing a ticket. The airline’s website guides the customer through screen after screen after screen before – finally! - confirming the purchase.
Will you bring any baggage? If more than a small bag – my backpack just meets the requirements – a bag, either checked or carry-on, costs additional dollars. How about paying a few extra bucks for a seat? Of course you will be assigned a seat without dishing out more dollars, but you never know where you might end up. Usually in the back of the bus. In a middle or window seat. Then there is the opportunity to spend more money to board the plane before the common folk, which I don’t understand. Why would I want to pay extra to spend more time than necessary in a cramped seat? And how about insurance? What if you cancel your flight due to illness, yours or a family member, or have a change of plans, or the loving couple getting married decides not to go through with the nuptials - anything can happen!
Ticket purchased, boarding pass printed or on your cell phone, and you’ve stuffed as much as possible in your free bag. Now you’re off to the airport.
The airport scene. Pray no cancellations or delays. Lines to check in…check baggage…more lines weaving through security checkpoints. Pass through electronic monitors. Suddenly a bell rings Bing…bing…forgot about a bracelet or belt or wire bra – resulting in a pat down. TSA Pre-check minimizes the hassle and time it takes to get through the hurdles, but in a busy airport only helps slightly.
A customer service agent announces the plane is ready for boarding. Folks crowd around the gate waiting to be called. The disabled…families with young children…zone 1…zone 2…zone 3 – sometimes us…zone 4 – usually us. We board and proceed down the plane aisle. We walk…and walk…and walk, eventually arriving at the back of the bus. Not necessarily the last row, but close to it. A window seat, a middle seat, rarely an aisle.
Sometimes turbulence mars a flight. Thoughts flash through my mind – what are people (probably family members) going to think when going through my house when I am suddenly gone? My bedroom is a mess…the last thing relatives want to do is wash my dirty clothes piled in the laundry basket…am I up-to-date with paying bills…what about those junk drawers full of – junk? When I get home I MUST clean and declutter the house.
I think about taking a pill to sleep through the trip, but so far have not done so. I tolerate the hassles and relish the best part – the end of the journey, disembarking – after waiting impatiently for everyone in front of you to get off the plane - and exiting the airport.