Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I Am on the Road Again

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Well, technically I am in the air again.  There was a time that I was traveled nearly every week.  It was routine. It was comfortable. In 1998 I started a company that provided training to corporations.  I flew out on Monday to some random destination, back into Dallas on Wednesday and back out on Friday, and back on Saturday for 40 weeks out of the 52 possible.  It was fun to go to hundreds of cities over a 6 year period, then it wasn't. 

After six years of fighting crowded airports, crowded flights, getting bumped off flights, cancelled flights, increased security, sleeping on airport floors during blizzards, being patted and prodded and checked after 9/11 made everyone suspicious, I was losing my oomph for traveling.  The real kicker came in a matter of a couple of months when I had the pleasure of an emergency landing in a field because the Continental flight's cockpit  window broke  out and that same week, on my birthday, I sat on the tarmac in St. Louis for 7.5 hours trying to take off.

I quit.  Quitting is much harder to do when it is your company but I did it anyway. 

Back then, I was a "seasoned" traveler.  I knew the airports. I could have told you where the coffee shops were, the bookstores are, the good airports and the bad airports.  I was a "road warrior" and I fit in with the rest of the "traveling for a living" set.

Today, I am taking a flight out of Kansas City to join my husband in Maryland and then spend a few days around the DC area just for the fun of it.  I realize early on that this isn't second nature to me anymore.  It no longer feels comfortable. Vaguely familiar but not comfortable.  I have taken a handful of flights in the last 6 years since moving to KC but for the most part, anything less than 12 hours driving time, I am willing to drive. 

Actually, I enjoy driving.  I like the back roads kind of driving and stopping at all kinds of interesting places just to check it out. With 37 moves behind me and a lot of towns between those 37 places and home, I have driven a lot of roads. 

As for today...the airport feels somewhat the same but with some newer scanners.  I wasn't picked today for the "pat down", I didn't make the buzzer go off, I did have to have a second person come and re-scan my laptop which I have no idea what that was for and am just thankful that it was a computer and not an adult diaper.  As I don't wear adult diapers, I don't want some TSA person pokin'  around that region looking for anything.

There still seems that people are frantic to board the plane and be first in line.  I have never understood this as the plane isn't going to leave while they are still in the boarding process.  There is still always that person that is trying to board the wrong flight and there is still the people that are hauling most if not all their belongings and trying to fit them into an overhead compartment.

This is an area that I am just confused about.  Why do airlines charge you for bags that go into the cargo hold of a plane?  No one can be inconvenienced by those.  They don't delay takeoffs.  No one can grab bad things out of something in the belly of the plane.  BUT airlines in their infinite wisdom, charge for checked bags.

SOOOO that in turn causes people to be stupid...crazy trying to get bags into overhead compartments that are already full of bags that have been shoved, bent, contorted and ramrodded into a space that is smaller than said bag.  

NEW PLAN IDEA!  Why don't airlines charge people "dearly" for the overhead space.  Rent it out like a beach front room in Hawaii.  A QUARTER bin costs...[fill in the blank].  I think the price would be dependent on the planes destination.  LA would cost more than  Toledo.  Basically, I want money to be changing hands for the overhead space and quit worrying about the couple of bags someone wants to bring and check.  Let's call that a "Perk".  See how friendly we are, we let you bring some clothes with you on your trip.  How nice are we?

This would serve several purposes.  Planes would be able to board faster.  People would sit down faster.  I wouldn't have somebodies big belly hanging in my face while he/she is trying to shove a 36 inch bag into a 18 inch space OR the people coming down the aisle wouldn't be smacking me in the head with their huge duffel while trying to figure out where their seat is.  Truly it is all that I can do not to jump up and act like an usher at a theatre and say "May I help you.  Oh, you have seat 24 C.  You will find that on the right hand side of the aisle at row 24."

Well, my blogee friends, I am in Baltimore for the evening and I will catch up with you tomorrow as time permits.  

The Good for the Day...I sat by a very nice ladies on both flights today.  No homeless guy like I told you about in a previous post, no smelly guy, no overly chatty person and no snoring guy leaning on my shoulder.

The Bad for the the good old days (12 years ago) flight attendants said fun things like "be careful when opening the overheads because we all know shift happens" now they snap at you like you are a bad child.  "Stay seated until we announce the doors have opened, do not turn on your portable devices until we tell you, you can blah blah blah.  Not friendly like.

The Weird for the day....The fun things that are in SKY MALL catalogue.

Here a little something you can order for your garden.

Another person that once took a jet


L.C. Griffith said...

Have a great trip Cheryl! I'm sort of jealous. DC? Really!

meleahrebeccah said...

Travel safe! You couldn't pay me to get on an airplane. I's rather drive any day. Well, as long as there aren't any bridges!

Annie (Lady M) x said...

Wow, have a good trip. I was like you in the olden days - I worked in aerospace and all my clients were scattered throughout the world, so I spent half my life on bloody planes. It is amazing what bugs you when you are seasoned traveller. My pet hates were those people who got to passport control and then decided to dig their passports from the bottom of their rucksacks. And those that go security with all their jewellery on and stuff in their pockets .... holding everyone up for ages. grrrrr.

Totally with you about the overhead baggage!!

Cheryl P. said...

Thank you Leah, I am having a fun time but it is HOT here. Tomorrow I am taking an organized tour so I shouldn't have to do anything too strenuous.

Cheryl P. said...

I have several friends that feel like that. I don't mind either so sometime I will come your way. I used to spend a lot of time in NJ. Too bad I didn't know you were there.

Cheryl P. said...

I totally agree, it's those little annoyances that add up. The pushy rude people or the dawdlers. Standing behind the slow pokes OR the indecisive kills me.

bodaciousboomer said...

Have a great time with the hubs young one. Travel safe. We'll all be here when you get back.

Sandra said...

You certainly experienced a lot of the country though. I was reading your post and wishing I had been places, seen stuff.

Kimberly Wyatt said...

Hooray! Disqus and Blogger appear to have reconciled their differences, because I am finally able to comment on your blog! For days now, I've been unable to write. I personally love flying; I've done it often enough to be comfortable with it, but not so often that I'm burnt out. A couple of flights a year, give or take one or two, seems to be my magic number.

I completely agree about charging for overhead space, and cutting the costs for checked bags. I know the airlines have fuel costs to consider, but $25.00 for one bag is ridiculous. At the very least, airlines should bring back the policy of having the first piece of luggage checked for free.

And thank you for the John Denver video. I love him, and this song. For some reason, this song was a standard at the summer camp I used to go to. Fond memories.

Cheryl P. said...

You have been traveling too, I see. Are you heading home to the new AC? I am having fun. Isn't it just nice to get out of your normal routine?

Cheryl P. said...

I will say that is the fun part. I love seeing new things. Today, I am headed to one of the Smithsonian Museums that I haven't been to before. Love the Smithsonium. Perhaps you have been places that I have yet to see.

Cheryl P. said...

Kimberly, I am so glad to see your comment!!! I have no idea what causes that comment problem but I have it from time to time with a couple of my favorites and find it frustrating. Hope it STAYS working right.
Now that I am not traveling so much, I don't mind it most of the time. As long as I am not having emergency landings, sitting next to a airsick passenger puking, or some other oddity, I am pretty good with it.
I like the folk genre of music. You could still understand the lyrics and they had nice sentiments.

Have a great day with your cute little ones and I am so glad you got through on Disqus.

meleahrebeccah said...

Okay! Great!

bodaciousboomer said...

My holiday away is drawing to a close. I'll be back in my own bed tonight. But it has been wonderful!!

jacqui said...

Charging for the overhead space is such a brilliant idea! How has nobody ever thought of this before?

jayne said...

Cheryl- Have a wonderful vacation. Good idea to charge for the overhead. And I hear you on the flying bit. I don't know anyone who's all that comfortable with it.
Take care, Cheryl. :-)

Cheryl P. said...

I won't be surprised if it doesn't become a fee at some point. I, also, wouldn't be surprised if we don't still have to pay for our checked bags as well.

Cheryl P. said...

I think it is like everything else. It has become so profit driven all the customer service has disappeared. I still opt for flying on longer trips but it used to be a lot more enjoyable.