The Glass is Empty

I am typically a “Glass is half-full” kind of person. I try to see the good in situations. But flying on the airlines lately has caused me to look at things not in a “Glass is half-full” or “Glass is half-empty” way, but more in a “The glass is empty” way.

Here’s an experience I recently had flying. There is no need to mention the airline – I have had similar experiences on different airlines. I arrived at the airport early enough to check in, check my bags, get through security and have enough time to grab a bite to eat before the flight. 30 minutes before the scheduled departure, we started boarding. When my zone was called, I presented my boarding pass to the gate agent and walked down the Jetway®. About 50 feet from the cabin door, I waited in line on the Jetway as passengers boarded at a snail-pace. Once on board the airplane, I witnessed what has become common place the past few years – passengers who don’t want to pay $25.00 or so to check their bags taking forever to board because they are trying to stuff their bags and their kitchen sinks into the limited space in the overhead bins. It is painful to watch. When I get to my row, I sit in my seat and slide my computer bag under the seat in front of me. The seats are packed so close together that it feels like the seat in front of me is practically in my face.
Even though we started boarding 30 minutes prior to departure, we still push back 10 minutes late. After the plane takes off, the person in front of me reclines his seat, and now it doesn’t feel like his seat is in my face – it actually is! I get a beverage when the flight attendant comes by, and grab a bag of trail mix that I bought at the airport (to avoid having to take out a second mortgage to pay for an in-flight “meal”) from my computer bag.

Once we arrived at Milwaukee, exiting the aircraft was just as painful as boarding, maybe even more so. I was ready to get home, but sat in my seat witnessing people trying to find their bags and sinks, and taking forever to grab them and get off the plane.

On the drive home, I thought about another flight I took around 13 years ago on Midwest Express from Milwaukee to Washington, D.C. I checked my bags for free. All the seats were two-by-two (first class sized) seats. Boarding was quick since most of my fellow passengers checked their bags for free. There was plenty of room to stretch out in my seat. There was no trail mix in my computer bag. Instead, I enjoyed some shrimp fettuccini pasta with steamed vegetables for lunch, and my tray included a cloth napkin, silverware, and glass mini salt and pepper shakers. After lunch, I enjoyed a hot cup of coffee and a warm chocolate cookie.
How 9-11 and the Great Recession has changed everything!

Can the flying experience get any worse? Apparently so! The FCC has announced it is considering lifting its ban on cell phone use on airlines. The only time passengers wouldn’t be able to use cell phones would be during takeoff and landing.

That would do it. We would be crammed in a self-loading flying boxcar next to people who are talking on their phones the whole flight! My “glass” would then be completely empty!

Hey FCC, can you hear me now? Please don’t do this!

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