Air Travel Is Awful And Getting Worse
Few things are more tedious than listening to folks who take exotic vacations to remote reaches of the globe gripe about air travel.
If you just got back from Bora Bora, please don't complain about the lousy in-flight refreshments.
Yes, of course you deserve better. But you really should know how spoiled you sound.
If you're a business traveler, complain away. You're stuck.
Look, we can all agree that airline seats are too small, the snacks are microscopic and the tickets cost a fortune. Yes, some flight attendants are surly. Some kids kick the seatback. And babies often scream.
Flights are delayed. Luggage is lost. Passengers dress poorly and we all loathe the TSA.
Still, I try not to complain. Every time I fly and find myself 1,000 or so miles away from home when I disembark, I think of how lucky I am to be alive in the 21st century, and not the 19th when a trip across the U.S. involved covered wagons, brutal weather and hostile tribes.
The way I see it, if you can cut the trip to California from six months to six hours, maybe you should just shut up about that cramp in your calf or your seat mate who talked too much.
Hey, you avoided the Donner Pass. Isn’t that enough?
Yet several flight-related news bulletins this week have caused even me to sympathize with sad travelers.
First, there was the report of a woman who decided to do yoga in the aisle.
I’ve read several stories and even seen the video but I still don't know what flight she was on or how long it was in the air.
Doesn’t really matter.
While it’s a good idea to stretch while in flight, taking over the narrow pathway for your yoga routine is a bit bizarre. And selfish. Frankly, what passenger in an aisle seat wants someone else’s downward-dog derriere in their face? Don't answer that.
What’s next? Will passengers jump rope in the aisle? Run in place? Shadow box?
Here’s a good rule: Nama-stay in your seat. (No, I didn't make that up. Wish I had.)
Then, on Tuesday, Conde Nast Traveler published a story headlined, “The Dirtiest Place in Airports Is Nowhere Near the Bathroom.”
I’m a sucker for germ stories and this one wasn’t all that surprising. The travel magazine reported that the dirtiest place in an airport is the self check-in kiosk. All those filthy fingers on the touch screen.
“In fact, they are 200 percent more germ-infected than your toilet seat at home. “
Once inside the aircraft, two of the most contaminated surfaces are tray tables - I haven’t touched one since I interviewed a microbiologist a few years ago who told me she found traces of vomit on almost every tray she tested - and armrests.
Let this be a reminder to pack hand sanitizer on your next flight. Oh, and make sure it’s in a four-ounce container and a clear plastic bag.
Finally, NBC reported that a woman this week attempted to board a flight in Newark, NJ with her emotional support animal.
A freaking peacock.
This, despite the fact that United Airlines had told the passenger three times before she arrived that the bird would not be allowed to fly. On the jet, anyway.
Look, this therapy-dog-comfort-animal wackiness has gone too far. Seeing-eye dogs are one thing. Emotional support peacocks are something else.
Commercial aircraft are starting to look like Noah’s Airborne Ark.
Delta wants to stop the madness.
“Customers have attempted to fly with comfort turkeys, gliding possums known as sugar gliders, snakes, spiders and more,” the airline said in a statement last month. “Ignoring the true intent of existing rules governing the transport of service and support animals can be a disservice to customers who have real and documented needs.”
Anyone who’s observed unlikely-looking mutts in mail-order vests straining their leashes in air terminals knew this trend was not going to end well.
In fact, The Atlanta Constitution reported that a passenger in a Delta window seat was savaged by a 70-pound “emotional support” dog last year. The poor man required 28 stitches.
If you can’t get from place A to place B without your poorly trained mongrel on your lap, here’s an idea:
Better yet, hitch your emotional support horse to a covered wagon and giddy-up.