Ronni at Time Goes By just published a story very aptly titled Elders and the Unfriendly Skies. One of the reasons I hate taking planes is that for ‘security reasons’ you have to be at the airport hours ahead of time. If you think US airports are unfriendly, just try Roissy-Charles de Gaulle for a change.
When I took the plane to NewYork city, back in October, I booked for October 1st, I had to be there three hours ahead of time, and then they line you up like a herd of cattle, (a very large one, at that) with your suitcase, before you ever get to the boarding counter.
If they were organised, there would be a line for each destination, but I guess that would make the wait shorter, and that is not the idea, is it? Who cares about elders, mothers with babies, or anyone else for that matter?
And who cares about being efficient?
So I stood in line for two solid hours. I was lucky, because my daughter and her boyfriend were with me and kept my place in line while I sat once in a while. This was all done for one man to ask me if I had packed my suitcase myself.
When I got my boarding card, and my daughter had helped me put my suitcase on the conveyor belt (no one will help you there, unless YOU ask), I had to stand in another line for police security. And there again, everyone in the same line, wherever you went. After taking off my shoes, starting my laptop, throwing away my bottle of Evian water, I got to the other side long after my plane was supposed to have taken off.
They wait for you, I guess, which is another reason why planes are always late.
That wasn’t the end, since I had to walk through long corridors till I got to the boarding gate. There I had to board a bus, be jerked around as there were no seats available, to the plane and there, climb up the stairs. When I got to my seat, I was exhausted.
I was grateful that I had an aisle seat and that there was no one sitting next to me. But the idea of being cooped up in a space that is meant for someone the size of an eight-years old for six hours is anything but pleasant.
I loved my trip to the States, but am not sure I’ll ever go back. Too exhausting.
Incidentally, I cannot even remember which company I flew. Not that it would make any difference. Big companies are all awful and couldn’t care less about your comfort.