Oh, for the Glory Days of Travel

I was out being abused by the airlines this week. I started to write about it, but it occurred to me that fondly remembering the days when air travel was pleasant and we used to dress up is the modern equivalent of telling young people we walked 10 miles to school in the snow.

Well, just this, and then I promise I will stop. Is there a priority club for people who just want to be treated with kindness and respect? I flew the mythical Misanthropic Airlines, which reached new levels of disdain for the average traveler. People with priority access now enter through a lane facing the entrance to the plane. The lane is cordoned off with a lush red velvet rope. All others are told to line up against the wall. Seriously. The only part they left out was “redneck mothers.”

Now that I’ve started, I may as well continue. My other issue is partially self-induced. I finally bought a small roll-on bag and am learning to pack light. I thoroughly researched luggage restrictions, as I wanted absolutely no doubt or questions regarding the size of my bag. For some reason, those sorts of confrontations don’t showcase my best attributes. So far, I’ve only been able to actually roll it aboard exactly once.

When you are in Zone 3 or Zone 4 and do not have priority access, you can kiss your bag goodbye. The only advantage at that point is that they were check it at the gate for no charge. At least that’s the way it worked as Misanthropic Airlines. They no longer deliver it planeside at your destination — now you have to pick it up at the baggage carousel.

As I was waiting for my zone to be called, the agent got on the microphone and said this, “Attention passengers in the gate area. This flight is full, and there are only eight bags checked. Eight! Look around you. Do you think all these bags will fit in the overhead bin?”

Silly us! Heads down, we walked sullenly to the desk to submit our bags, and they actually started barking at us. “Not here! On the other side of this rope!” There was a man behind me who whispered, “Am in in the right place? I don’t want to get hurt.”

I was tired. Fed up. I confess to shedding a tear when I finally got settled into the darkness of 32B. I don’t believe I will be flying again through the end of the year. That’s good. I can build up my strength. I’ll be tanned, rested and ready for the misanthropes in 2013.

Oh, by the way, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT attempt to use a wireless mouse on an aircraft. It’s against airline policy. If you try it, bad things happen, and ugly words will be exchanged. Trust me on this one.

Donna Pekar’s blog Rock the Silver is a writer’s personal perspective about life, aging and cool gray hair. A cancer survivor and Army veteran, Donna works as a communications professional for a Fortune 100 company. 

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