the wonderful world of veena.

04 November 2013

remember when flying was fun?

I do.

I remember the days before bag check fees. I remember the days when you could keep your shoes on through the security check. I remember the joy of getting off a plane and running straight into the arms of a waiting friend or family member. I remember when water wasn't considered a threat. I remember when you didn't have to pay for snacks on flights.

But mostly, I remember the days when flying somewhere - anywhere - was an adventure unlike any other.

The anticipation leading up to a trip that required a flight meant sleepless nights and excited chatter. It meant planning who would go to the airport to pick up or drop off visitors. It meant fun.

But sadly, those days are behind us.

These days, flying can seem like such a chore. You have to get to the airport hours early. You have to pay $25 to check in your bags simply because you need to carry liquids in excess of 3 ounces. Security lines are long and tenuous [and often you get stuck behind fellow travelers who can make it even more cumbersome]. TSA officers continue to become less and less friendly. Generally, everyone seems to be in a hurry and / or a bad mood. The food options keep getting more and more expensive [$10 for a salad? you've got to be kidding me]. You're continually told what you cannot do rather than what you can. Before takeoffs, flight attendants seem like broken records constantly repeating that phones need to be switched off, because no one listens to them anymore [I feel bad for them on this one. sometimes fellow travelers can be super obnoxious]. And then, even once you're on the flight, you sometimes still have to pay for food or beverages. That's just overkill. And then, even if you're transiting from one flight to the next, you have to go through Security Check again. That reusable water bottle of yours that the very sweet flight attendant filled on the flight for you to have during your long layover? You have to dump it out. Either find a water fountain - increasingly difficult - or shell out $5 for a plastic bottle.

Somehow the magic of traveling has worn off, and it's really upsetting.

I still love to travel. I love planning trips and booking tickets and getting to see new and familiar faces and places. But the apprehension I feel when approaching an airport can sometimes outweigh those feelings of excitement for wherever it is I am going. When I know what lays ahead of me - sometimes for the next 30 hours - it can put such a damper on the simple joy of getting to go somewhere.

And I know some of it is beyond control. Cheap airlines make it difficult for more expensive ones to stay competitive in certain places. Fuel costs are rising. The general cost of living is rising. Terror is a real concern. But it doesn't help to alienate your customer base by making them miserable before they even get on the flight. Those bad experiences? They stick with us and make us less likely to fly through your airport or on your airline in the future.

I've been to San Francisco and back, Orlando and back, and Atlanta and back in the last 3 weeks, and I'm leaving for India this upcoming Saturday. I can't wait to be back and to see everyone in Coimbatore, Bangalore, and Bombay, but all I can seem to think about is the hassle of just getting there.

I want to go back to the days when flying was a fun adventure.
Who's with me?

No comments:

Post a Comment