Wednesday, July 8, 2015

When Flying Used to Be Fun

I used to love flying.  I loved it so much that in 1979 I took flying lessons. My first solo flight was on December 7, 1978! As the plane lifted off the ground in Florida I felt an exhilirating joy at being ALONE in the air, flying like a bird into the clouds.  I took my final check ride and completed all qualifications for my Single Engine Land Private Pilot's License on Friday, April 13, 1979!  Yep, Friday the 13th! I love memorable dates!

All that being said, I am no longer a big fan of flying. Let me explain that by saying that I no longer fly solo; having decided that my vision and age are somewhat restricting my ability to do so.  Now when I need to go somewhere I must fly commercial airlines.  I used to enjoy flying commercially too, but things have definitely changed since 1979!

I used to look forward to traveling by air from one destination to another.  The seats were fairly spacious, the people fairly gracious and most even well dressed.  That is not the case any more!  Now, the airports are crowded with people pushing and shoving and running their wheeled luggage over your feet without so much as an "oops, I'm sorry."  Then there is the TSA Security Check! OMG...most of the time i get the "pre-check" status and it isn't too bad.  But, on my last trip when I tried to check in online (I was traveling with an 88-year-old lady and an 86-year-old lady) I was notified that I couldn't check in online as "one" in our party needed to check in at the airport!  Ugh!
That meant that I had to arrive at the airport an hour earlier than I had anticipated.  Oh well.

Our check in went okay except for the fact that in spite of the fact I had ordered TWO wheelchairs, NONE were waiting for us.  The agent informed me that the gate was only about 200 "meters" away, so we decided to go for it.  Well, it was waaaaaaay more than 200 meters away.  Then the Security people rifled through each and every one of our bags...really?    Oh well, we made it through and finally arrived at the gate.  Wouldn't you think that if the twenty something and thirty something healthy people were sitting and the eighty somethings were standing SOMEONE would volunteer to give up their seat? Not!  Courtesy and respect for elders is also GONE!

Once we boarded the plane, I was on an aisle seat again..hmmmmm.  I am going to have to rethink that choice in the future, because I still have a huge bruise on my left arm where a careless person boarding the plane after I was seated clobbered me with their oversized carryon!  Again, no oops or gee I'm sorry.  Ugh.

Then there are the tight, we are all crammed in like sardines, with barely room to put our legs between the seats.  But, even worse are those people who are traveling with impossibly ill-behaved children!  Oh My God! Whatever happened to discipline?  If any child of mine had screamed and thrown fits in public when they were two plus years of age, there would have been SOME kind of repercussion! Not any more!  People, if you can't control your child, you don't belong on an airplane full of people!  On one three hour leg of our flight home, there was a two-year-old child who screamed at the top of his lungs every minute or two about who knows what! When we were disembarking the plane, the carnage of crackers, cookies and other food and drinks around the area where this child had been was horrendous! The Flight Attendant said she had never seen worse! Please people, I have raised four children, I have eight grandchildren...none of whom would have been allowed to show such disrespect for others.

Then when we had to clear customs coming back into the USA, our luggage was searched by TSA.  I really wouldn't have been upset, except that my medications had the tops removed and not put back on before putting them back into the suitcase and the pills were EVERYWHERE when I opened my suitcase upon arriving at home.  This is unacceptable.  The suitcase inside looked like a gorilla had rifled through it!

By the time I arrived home, I was sick of inconsiderate people, rowdy kids and the TSA!  Flying is no longer FUN!  It is actually a chore.  What a shame.  I really do wish we could go back to the time when flying and traveling were exciting events.  I really do wish people would understand that discipline and respect are important.  Well, maybe I'm just OLD! But, somehow I do believe things have gotten out of hand, and we need to back up and take a look at consideration, respect and discipline.  We need to speak up and tell the airlines and the TSA what is acceptable and what is NOT!!  I'm thinking about doing a lot more driving and a lot less flying whenever I can!

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