- Last week, I had the misfortune of having to fly from
the West Coast to the Washington DC area for an event that required my
presence. Please keep in mind I am a former flight attendant who flew
during the 1980s.
- I had flown several times after 9/11 in which I was thoroughly
screened as has millions of fellow travelers. It was an extreme annoyance
of course. Having stripped down to my blouse and pants after my underwire
bra set off the 'wand' and my wallet checked for bombs, having my purse
confiscated because I complained about someone may steal it while I'm being
'inspected', well, I was a little upset. Lucky for me there were no body
cavity searches and I got my purse back after a supervisor approved.
- Now I'm one who reads vicariously but I determined that
carrying books such as written by David Icke regarding 9/11 ("Alice
in Wonderland") was going to be detrimental to my voyage. So 'banned'
books were out.
- To make a long story even longer, my trip to and from
DC was similar to going to prison. Or let's say going to visit someone
in prison (airport screening) and then finding yourself behind prison walls
(aircraft) for approximately six hours.
- So we all know what airport security is like, so let
me remind you what happens on the airplane. First thing I noticed is that
the cockpit door is now gun-proofed - well that's understandable. Then
I notice in my sardine seat in 'economy' that the flight attendants have
a regimentation that defies belief (Nazi Germany, deja vu). OK if the
coach passengers need to use the first class restroom (lavatory or 'biffy'),
stand behind row six which is the class dividing spot between 1st class
and coach (on specific aircraft). I made the mistake of using the 1st
class lav, making brief conversation with the "A" flight attendant,
and then being reprimanded another flight attendant on the PA system from
the back of the airplane that the pointy part of the airplane is the "COCKPIT!"
(no kidding?!) and only "AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL!" are allowed to
loiter or work there. So I humbly went back to my seat mumbling 'what
the hell'....OK, then there's the seat belt sign.
- The seat belt sign is the airline crew's utmost weapon
to control the passengers other then increasing the cabin's 'room' temperature
(up the temp and put those folks to sleep). Or maybe raise the cabin's
pressure altitude (makes you drowsy, light-headed due to less recycled
oxygen). OK, so I see several older men standing who are probably having
prostate problems and THEY REALLY HAVE TO GO! So they dutifully stand
in line for the lavoratories and it's "Oh my God! Can't you see that
the Captain still has the SEAT BELT SIGN ILLUMINATED? GET BACK TO YOUR
SEATS IMMEDIATELY!" Mind you the flight hasn't hit a bump in over
- Then the meal service starts and of course the seat belt
sign is still on because no one, waiting for the biffys, is wanted standing
in the aisle. Finally, finally, all us suckers with bladder problems get
to go as the meal service is now over.
- Oh, and get this. Service done, flight attendants disappear.
Aft galley curtain shut, do not enter and God help you if you should ring
the button requesting ANYTHING. Not to be disturbed. Whatever happened
to making conversations with the passengers, assuring their every need
is met? Oh, I forgot, that was an era long, long ago.
- My point is this: Airlines wonder why people don't like
to fly. Ummm. Why do they lose money. Ummmm. Could it possibly be customer
service? Duhhhhhh. Could it be airport security? Nahhhh. I'm perfectly
aware how 9/11 has changed air travel. But to treat passengers like THE
ENEMY, after all they've been through just to get to the airport, and through
security, then treated like crap, after having settled down into seats
perfectly designed for 12-year olds (and no older), it's a absolute wonder
any airline is making any money at all. And they're not except Southwest
and Jet Blue.
- My thanks go out to all those folks who dare to travel
by air. True American heroes in my eyes. It's sad to see an industry
in which I was once a part of (and still am indirectly) has gone to hell
- and very much designed to do so.
- So, good luck my fellow American air warriors. Today
is the 'future' of air travel - and it is 'Big Brother'. Sorry - wish
I could of known you when travel was fun and sitting on an enclosed tube
of aluminum was bearable and fun. Have a toast to the 'good old days'
for me and you and an inadvert gesture, please, to those folks who having
planned and executed 9/11 who brought us to this.
- And let us never forget those who lost their lives because
of such treason and treachery and to those who have lost their jobs because
of the backlash from 9/11. We must carry on somehow.