Nancys avatarIt happened again! I opened my checked luggage when I got back from Louisville, Kentucky, and found that little note on top of my clothes letting me know that the TSA rummaged through my suitcase for the safety of the other passengers. Just knowing that someone pawed my stuff gets me a little sick, especially since I know that people have flown with things they shouldn’t have taken with them on the plane. And then I had to remember what I packed to make sure nothing was missing. Never pack anything that is not easily replaceable.

In addition, I got ex-rayed and patted down leaving Las Vegas even though I had a pre-approved ticket. After passengers’ complaints about the irksome screening process at U.S. airports, the TSA allows pre-approved travelers who volunteer personal information in advance to leave on their shoes, belts and light outerwear and keep their laptops in their bags, among other perks lost after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. TSA says the program is part of its “intelligence-driven, risk-based approach to security,” which “enhances aviation security by placing more focus on pre-screening individuals who volunteer to participate to expedite the travel experience.” It would have been nice to take advantage of this, but the TSA station was closed for no reason. No refund on that little perk!

I can’t tell you how I used to love to fly back in the day. I experienced my first plane trip when I was 9 years old. We actually went first class on Eastern Airlines from New York to Atlanta, Georgia. We were treated like the Royals. I was hooked! I wanted to be a flight attendant, but unfortunately they had a height requirement, so I settled for being a passenger and always looked forward to the experience.

Times have changed! Every flight is 100%+ full. We sit in seats made for midgets and are thrown peanuts as if we were elephants. Now we have to pay extra for our bags, blankets and pillows on some airlines. If we arrive with our luggage in one piece, it’s a bonus. Of course, I have had my luggage lost for more than 24 hours (I already bitched about that when it happened).

Most of the time, when I am flying alone, I end up between 2 very large people who need at least 1½ seats each. Ahh . . . fun times.

So what’s the alternative? We have become dependent on the airlines. No matter what they charge and how late they are, we go back to making reservations. Do you know why? Think back to the old days when it took 6 months to get from Illinois to California, fearing attacks by Indians and animals, various illnesses and death just to mention a few challenges. And if you wanted to go to Europe or Asia, the luxury ocean liner was the mode of travel and took 6+ days from the United States. (Just for clarification, no I was not around in those days….I checked the google history books.)

Most people who travel for business or pleasure are on a tight schedule, but putting things in perspective always helps to be more patient.

Take a breath and picture yourself on a wagon train next time your plane is not on schedule.

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