On Monday I came home from Atlanta where I had visited my son Ben and his family, and my daughter Clare and her fiancé.
My experience with air travel was somewhat worse than I had expected. For reasons mysterious I was obliged to have a paper ticket, and unable to make prior seat selection. The paper ticket was a bother at every step of the way.
I was selected for special security screening, and ordered to stand on a rubber mat. One agent said to another agent, “Make sure she doesn’t move until I get a female examiner.”
The female examiner came, and rubbed her hands over my entire body. Then she and another agent unpacked my suitcase and separately X-rayed each pair of shoes in my bag. A collection of old costume jewelry I was taking to my 5 year old granddaughter to play with was actually X-rayed twice. The whole process took quite a while, and there was a lot of tooing and froing to the X-ray machine. You have to wonder how many bad guys will be caught by frisking grannies.
Finally I was allowed to pack my stuff back up, and I wandered off in search of a New York Times and a latte. I had to drag everything with me because many airlines now charge for checking bags. (The paper ticket had already cost an extra $30.) When I got on the airplane and settled into my middle seat (which was broken and wouldn’t recline) I learned that to get a diet coke would cost me $3. And so it went.
I find that at age 76, travel in general, and particularly air travel, is stressful. I never seem to be able to organize efficiently and juggle all the items I carry. It takes me longer than the younger passengers to find boarding passes, ID’s, get shoes and jackets off and on, get things placed in plastic trays for screening, and get situated in airplane seats with bags stowed overhead.
Squeezing people into small spaces makes them grumpy, and I find that men, especially, have no time for old ladies. I can see that my fumbling is annoying to other passengers.
Now I’m home, a couple of pounds heavier (my son is a chef and my daughter a foodie, so eating was irresistable), and I am sneezing with an airplane cold. Glad I don’t have to do it again until next month when I visit my other son in Charleston, S. C.
Whew! I feel your pain! I so hate air travel! And to end up sick at the end is just salt in the wound. Right now, I am big believer in Vitamin C: 1 gm every 2 hrs to a max of 5 gm a day. Might help next time you have to fly… The train is the best, but it costs so much now.
Oy. It used to be so fun, flying, or at least it could be. Now it’s just dismal.
Flying is such a pain, even for those who don’t mind the flying part (which I do!) When we were flying home from Sint Maarten last year, because we were changing planes in Philadelphia, we had to hump our luggage off the plane and into the terminal just so that security could go through our bags – which had already been through security in Sint Maarten and were checked through to our destination. The logic of it escapes me – if I had somehow magically managed to manufacture a bomb while we were in flight, wouldn’t they be better off leaving it out on the tarmac, rather than bringing it into a crowded terminal? To add insult to injury, we missed our connecting flight.
Well, I can’t imagine that security is finding many terrorists or threats to anybody by manhandling grannies. How ridiculous! I’m sorry that you had to go through that, Anne!
I wish that people had more patience. One day they too will take longer to do things.
I’m happy to hear you had a good visit! Your grandchildren are adorable.
I don’t like travel much myself. Air travel, especially – the air in the cabin always triggers a migraine for me. Hope you feel better soon!
Thanks to all for your sympathy. I guess I’m still fit enough to be able to put up with a day of discomfort. I think the worst part is the insult to one’s dignity, plus the disconcerting view one gets of civility in fellow travelers, security people and airline employees.