Publisher’s Note: Getting There

ronandmaryIt used to be – a long, long time ago – that getting to your destination was fun. Still is –if you count road trips in the family car – although my co-publisher would argue that point. Cruise ships and trains can be pleasurable modes of transport to and from destinations as well. Road trips, cruising and rail aside, when you travel the globe frequently, as many of our readers do, you have to fly. And frankly, flying today pretty much sucks.
Once upon a time, flying was special. You dressed up, sometimes in a suit bought just for the occasion. Stewardesses, looking like beauty pageant contestants, were smiling and gracious. Seats were spacious and comfortable, with lots of room to tilt your seat back without causing a fist fight with the big guy behind you. Even the food was decent — in first class it was excellent.
Those were the golden days of flying – except for the smoking of course – but we didn’t know better at the time. Can you imagine ashtrays on a plane today?
And there are some airlines that still seem to care for their customers and their comfort, including Japan Air and Turkish Airlines, two I’ve flown recently. Southwest is at least consistent with its offerings which still include some snacks.
But most airlines, especially US carriers, offer passengers nothing but pain – a pain in the wallet, body and palate. American Airlines and even United used to be two of the best but now are less than mediocre with uncomfortable seating and more often than not, surly attendants. Don’t get me started on Frontier; they are the worst in almost every way. Oddly enough, their counter staff and attendants seem friendly enough.
It wasn’t so long ago that full meals and snacks were served on cross-country flights. Today, airlines have turned their domestic and sometimes international in-flight food service into a significant profit stream. Attendants now push snack carts up and down the aisle taking just credit and debit cards – no cash allowed.
We also pay through nose for just a little more leg room and for early boarding in hopes there still room in the overhead to stow your bags. Pillows and blankets are extra – even sitting together with your family can cost you. Baggage fees are a whole horror story on their own.
I could be somewhat sympathetic about their tightfisted ways if fuel prices were still sky high, but they’re at historical lows. Now, it’s all about corporate greed and bean counters who never fly economy. If I were King, I would make all airline executives and plane designers to do an international flight in coach at least once a week for a full year. I bet service and comfort would improve quickly and significantly.
Rant over.
Have safe travels and we wish you the best of window and aisle seats .
Ron & Mary