Flying Today's Un-Friendly Skies
From Name Protected

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 30 minutes.
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.



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