Frank and I often don't see eye to eye (although I thought he was an excellent restaurant critic), but boy I'm in total agreement with him on this one - plane courtesy, a thing of the past. Aviation geeks (kharada46, IAHFLYR, pluto77, ks77, hoping to increase participation I used Frank's title), this is why I don't study the planes I fly, although perhaps with some tips from you guys, knowing the right plane to fly might help offset the soulless nature of air travel. Whereas I'm certainly no B & B kind of guy, all friendly and interested, I occasionally enjoy the sharing of a tale or two; thus the beauty of Insiders. Hopefully hotels won't enter this world of 'eroding empathy' (or soon like ehjay writes, they'll be closing the lobby lounges after 10 - which if I was ever up that late, would bug me also ).
Keep on keepin' on Insiders, as the travel environment becomes more and more hostile, the camaraderie of travelers becomes more meaningful.
posted after flying home next to a tupperware packaged, brussel sprouts consuming, overflowing out of the middle seat, nose tackle (and they weren't Wolfgang Puck type, flowery bouquet brussel sprouts)
I'm afraid all my air travel is in economy, mostly Ryanair/Easyjet. For short haul it's an OK experience, all I need is a seat, mind you, nobody takes my under seat legroom, not that I've really experienced any of the kind of annoying passengers mentioned in the article. There's no denying it, though, unless you're travelling 1st class (which in my case I suspect will be never) air travel is now anything but a glamorous experience. Even so, I do realise that I am blessed indeed to have the opportunity to fly, a real privilege that, so far, only about 10% of the worlds population has experienced.
erc Thanks for the article. It was a good read. I agree that the entire process of flying has had basically every last bit of enjoyment squeezed out of it. Of course I am referring to leisure travel and not business travel. Business travel is flat out lousy and carries no fun or enjoyment at all. I luckily do not travel for work at all and I still don't enjoy flying very much. My idea of a great flight experience is a flight that leaves on time, arrives on time, is reasonably comfortable (no obnoxiously fat or smelly person next to me) and that's about it. No one likes TSA but I really just go along to get along and I don't have any problems.
On to the meat of what the article is saying is that us, the flying public, have become an entitled, me first, bunch of jerks who treat each other like dirt. Now I will be the first to admit I am an introvert. I follow the rules but I do keep to myself. I don't think that is a bad thing. I am not causing any issues for anyone else so I don't expect them to create hassles for me. I don't put my coat in the overhead bin, I don't bring three carry on bags, I don't ask people to switch seats from 5A to 23E. I board quickly, put my bag in the bin, and sit down. I am fast, efficient, and ready to go. I am the airlines' favorite kind of customer. While I understand where the writer is coming from, I don't see the bad behavior changing anytime soon.
Man, how come you're not the guy who boards at the last second, just before the closing of the doors, that sits next to me - instead, I often get the pack mule that Bruni references with three items, no place to put them, and all types of elbows and backpacks smacking into everyone?
However, I have learned never to expect that empty seat next to me to remain, even after the two minute warning - so at least I'm not shocked, when as happened recently (in a RyanAir type regional flight) where the guy boarded from the rear of the plane and sheepishly pointed toward the middle seat (and now I've learned to not only look forward - ha).
My last flight was on Delta, it was FC from HNL to JFK with a stop in LAX. It was a red eye flight and was packed. As my wife and I walked up to the gate area which was insanely crowded, I noticed there was a GA who was checking the sizes of the carry-on bags. When she saw one even remotely questionable she would ask the person to check it. If they rebuffed the request she had them go to the sizer, and I saw at least 2 people go to the sizer and they ended up having to check. Since my wife and I were traveling with only carry on bags ours were stuffed. We had a 45 minute connection in LAX and knew if they were to force us to check there was no way our bags were going to make it. So, we walked to the gate next to ours and waited. When they were about to announce the boarding we came back nearer the gate and once they called FC we ran up to the scanner and boarded. No questions asked. I am not sure they would have made us check them as we were in FC and I would have informed them of our tight connection. At first I thought they agent was being a pain and making everyone check their bags but once everyone was boarded I looked at my watch and they were able to board a very very full 757 in roughly 20 minutes. Without the efforts of that GA that NEVER would have happened.
Thanks for posting article. It made me recall an incident on a flight in the old days when folks could smoke. The chap behind me was exhaling his smoke directly over his seat into my nasal passages. I turned on my overhead air and tactically blew the smoke back into his general area. He actually had the audacity to ask me to turn off the air! Can you believe it? Fortunately, I outweighed this guy by a considerable amount and basically ignored him.
Mr. Bruni's description mirrors our last several flights, including the last one, during which I had to literally pick up a giant narcoleptic's forearm out of my lap and replace it in his lap a number of times. He awoke once during the process and apologized, but his arm was back in my lap a few minutes later.
As a result, a few years back, Mrs. Foxglove and I decided to spend our near-future air travel bucks on a comfortable, fuel-efficient TDI wagon from which we actually get to see and experience this beautiful nation. Granted, it takes longer to get where we're going, and intercontinental travel becomes highly problematic, but we arrive at our destinations -- usually Marriott properties -- smiling and ready to experience new sights, sounds, and cuisines. Just sayin', flying's not everyone's cup of tea, and no one's forced to fly (for leisure travel anyway). And oh, yeah, we have yet to lose our luggage.
the worse thing is with the drop in oil prices all the airlines are making a lot of money that at this point they all claim they will keep. So they charge for everything, add additional seats , raise fares so the experience gets worse and worse until flyers decide to reduce flying or an upstart comes in like the old America West and Jet Blue did and return to a better experience for flyers with cheaper fares. It was interesting I flew Allegiant last month that charges for every bag and funny the overheads were nearly empty. I also have noticed since SW doesn't charge for checking a bag their overheads aren't nearly as crowded .
Iit was a good read. Coming back from DC on a 6 hr flight, the husband and I opted against a middle seat in hopes that it would remain open. It did not, which was not the problem. The problem was the individual, with a myriad of bulky items which she literally threw into the seat, hitting me, then proceeded to "unpack," stowing things everywhere, effectively taking ownership of the entire row. The worst part was the medium sized brown paper bag... Constantly opening and crumbling shut, stashing it back into (my) seat pocket, crunch, crunch, crunch, get it out again, etc. etc. etc. I would've liked to toss that paper bag out of the window. And she would not sit still. Being twice her age, I just wanted to say, "Young lady, for the love of peace, SETTLE DOWN!"
I try to be like ks77, follow the rules, be fast and efficient and as unobtrusive as possible, and when required, try to be a part of a solution rather than the problem. I am happy with my airlines of choice, am pretty tolerant of the (sometimes clueless) TSA folks (as they are tolerant of my occasional forgetfulness). More often the challenges of air (or bus/train) travel involve fellow passengers, and unfortunately it only takes one.
pluto77 I feel for you. I can't stand that. People who are obese or smelly are awful but at least you see what you get and it doesn't really change for the flight. In your case, it was like playing lets make a deal except behind all doors and curtains were a lousy annoyance. It was either the brown bag crinkling, obnoxious food crunching, taking up your storage space, etc. You know how when you were a kid teachers especially would say, do you act like that at home? (and you knew you didn't) so you would take your feet off the desk or whatever "bad" thing you were doing. Well now, people really do at like that at home and they act that way on planes in confined spaces with the public. So they have no idea how to behave no matter how old they are (like the woman in that knee defender episode recently who threw soda on the guy). I think it just comes down to some people will never understand they need to be on at least decent, unobtrusive behavior when they fly.
pluto77. This example and others mentioned here are why I drive nearly everywhere. Not always possible but definitel easier for us. Enjoy the friendly skies.
Thanks for sharing erc! Thankfully I haven't experienced this all that much... then again, I don't travel much, so not too many opportunities for that! I must say, though, when we were coming back from London, this American lady said excuse me to pass through the boarding line... and then decided to just cut in front of me instead! Some how she ended up in FC, while the wife and I were in business. When we landed, she tried to push her way out of the plane too, but I wasn't about to move for her when I was clearly getting my stuff down from the bin... and the door wasn't even open yet!
Then of course on Maui there were some people that were on our flight that decided they were going to push the wife and I out of their way in the baggage claim, even though there was tons of clear space around us. Then when they figured out they were going to the same rental agency as us, they tried to race us there! On the bus they glared angrily at us, I guess because we took the seat they wanted, even though there were many open seats. And of course they made it a point to shove their way off the bus first. But we had the last laugh because I had check us in online and just dropped our bags in the car and drove off! They, on the other hand, had to wait in the very long line!
My wife and I love clowns like that. I am one of those people who sniffs out when people are trying to game the system, or jump a line by using fake "I don't know what I am doing/where I am going" mannerisms. The wife and I have had a few of the exact same experience as you as far as rental car shuttles and people running to get off the plane when the door isn't even open yet. If that person is trying to make a connection on the plane is being held for them, then an FA should escort them and then it's okay. If you are just an impatient jerk then guess what I am going to stand in front of you every time. News flash! You aren't special. Your time is no more important than mine and you don't get to jump the line simply because you don't want to wait.
Couldn't agree with you more ks77! Of course, the wife doesn't really like it when I do that, but hey, some people need to learn... If they really want to be special, well then they ought to not fly on a US carrier! Fly Emirates where the FC passengers have their own terminal and own boarding bridge when departing from Dubai.
WOW, my former "Big Boss" Ray LaHood hit the nail on the had with his "life support" comment. As a guy who used to travel quite often for business and pleasure I learned like many others have mentioned to be the quick fast quiet person in and out (but if you try and lower my window shade better watch out ) of not only the airplane but airport as well. I got it down to an exact science when I had the lofty status earning bunches of miles hand over fist.
Now days, well another lesson I've learned is if you want a particular seat then you better pay for it and looking at the many different options of airfares before clicking the send button. Also as our thread starter mentions knowing what type of craft is helpful right up to the time they substitute equipment and don't tell you until you notice your seat has gone from 1A to 17E for some unknown reason. Yes, flying has lost just about all the fun yet I'm still not going to drive places to avoid the frenzy of airports and rude jerks who think they are all that and a pack of crackers.
Just returned from an international flight and I did notice that people seemed quite a bit less stressed about everything.....but it was a leisure destination not so much a business spot!!!!