I hope the airlines folk are reading this. I used to love flying. But of late it has become a task full of drudgery.
Flying sucks. Every aspect of it. From booking tickets to collecting your bags at the end of the travel and exiting the airport. Read this too : Exactly 100% of Americans Hate Flying…
To start with, tickets are so so expense. One person’s one way ticket is equal to an average person’s monthly salary (almost). What do you get in return?
After booking your ticket and some 15 emails, 8 SMSs and a couple of WhatsApp messages from the booking site later, you are asked to WebCheckIn. You try and nothing happens. Then you get an email at 6 am saying WebCheckin is now open. You quickly drop everything to go through the arduous process of handing over all your privacy data to the airlines, answering many questions while the airlines doesn’t offer to answer even one (“Would you serve food without known allergens” for example) and accept your destiny as the seats offered to you in the centre row or on the wing (with no view) as the only choice.
Reach the airport at least two hours before your flight takes off. In Covid times, 3 hours prior since there are long long queues.
Long queues while entering the airport. Show ticket, search for ID while juggling your luggage. And frowning at fellow passengers who aren’t following the Covid Protocols.
Long Queue at Kiosk. The first Self service kiosk you approach doesn’t mostly work.
Baggage drop after self check in has long queues making kiosk self checking useless.
If you didn’t do a web check in pay extra again.
Long queue at security, take off belt, shoes, remove laptop, remove cameras etc
Wait for your flight departure info after security clearance. Not enough place for passengers to sit. Retail shops entice you but it is all too expensive.
Departure announced, people pounce on the long endless queue. You wait.
You board the flight. Insensitive passengers carry all their luggage into the cabin (when they could have left it with the baggage department) leaving you with little overhead space, and having to fit your small camera/laptop bag under the seat in front (your own seat’s underneath is taken up by someone else), between your legs, making your flying experience worse.
Minimal leg space made worse by reclining passengers (maybe reclining seats should be eliminated, unless the airlines give adequate leg space). You cannot even open your magazine/newspaper/food packet with the front passenger reclining like that. You keep quiet to avoid a ‘tamasha’.
Then come the ‘refreshments’. Bad food. Priced high. In fact sometimes “no frills” airlines can be more expensive than “full service airlines”.
Some airlines do not even carry a magazine or newspaper to read.
Now, to make even more money, airlines have started breaking up people traveling together by making only middle seats free (eventually ‘low cost’ is as expensive as ‘full service’), so if you want to sit with your partner (why wouldn’t you?), pay extra.
In the flight, you are worried of the pandemic as many passengers aren’t wearing masks and coughing or sneezing throughout the flight. They won’t listen to the flight attendants too.
You land to face a slow baggage collection experience at conveyor belts. If you are particularly having an unlucky day, your bag is lost.
Leave the airport 45 minutes to an hour after the flight lands. Pay for exorbitant pre-paid cabs or unplanned App Cab pickup chaos. All the while dealing with your heavy luggage.
It wasn’t always like this. About 15 years ago, flying was a great experience. I used to look forward to reaching the airport early to sit peacefully with a large cup of coffee and read a book or the newspaper. Queues and crowds were much more manageable. The breakfast was something to look forward to. Croissants with scrambled eggs, two sausages, sauteed spinach, hash brows, coffee or tea. All included in the ticket price. You could keep asking for coffee refills. They wouldn’t charge you for everything you like or need to do. Now I am sure some airline ‘brainstorming’ room has a proposal to charge passengers for opening the window for a view and light (OK I am only joking, but who knows?).
Why did it have to become like this?