Friday, November 05, 2010

The New "Normal" for Air Travel

• Roll out at 1:00 AM to make the grueling trip to the airport in time for a 9:00 AM flight.
• Park ten miles away in the long-term parking lot at a cost of only $50 per day per wheel. Wait 2 hours in icy rain for an overloaded shuttle bus to take you to the terminal.
• Tour world-renowned industrial parks in 3 counties before finally getting dumped at the check-in counter.
• Endure the wrath of passengers in line behind you and the annoyed smirk of the woman behind the counter when the automated check-in machine can’t read your credit card swipe.
• Check one medium-sized suitcase.
• Click on the new “Instant Mortgage Financer” option to cover the cost.
• Take your place in line behind 1,579 other passengers waiting to clear “security”.
• Strip down to your underwear.
• Subject yourself to enough radiation to give your cheeks a really healthy glow.
• Through the broken English of a leering TSA employee learn that you have been randomly selected for the new “enhanced” pat down.
• As a circle of uniformed men with badges look on, discover the meaning and implications of the Homeland Security Department’s technical term: “New Fish”.
• As you dress and repack the pile of possessions that were once in your carry-on, make a note to schedule: [For Male passengers] that prostate exam you’ve been putting off [For female passengers] that overdue gynecological exam.
• Run a gauntlet of aimlessly wandering passengers, service carts, and people screaming into cell phones as you race to your gate: a mere 5.3 miles from the security check point.
• As you stagger to the gate, politely refuse the offer of a concerned airport employee to administer automated external defibrillator treatment.
• Discover that 383 of those 1,579 passengers ahead of you in the security line were all booked on your 50-seat commuter flight. The next 15 flights to your destination are also over-booked. Your best hope is to finally arrive at your target city three days after you are scheduled to be back home.
• You ask for the defibrillator.
• Three months later your bag, which ended up checked through to Mombasa, is finally delivered to your door. The latch is broken and the contents are gone.
• When you get your frequent-flyer statement you decide to donate your accumulated miles to an organization that arranges travel for convicted sex offenders.