The airlines and the security people at airports way are easy to pick on and everyone seems to be doing it these days. So I have some simple advice for the weary travelers as we go into the busy summer season: make choices, wear socks and consider Virgin America.
Travelling is all about choices. Check the bag and wait or carry it on and pray that there is room? Wait for an upgrade and lose hope of overhead space for your bag or get on and take that middle seat? Take the aisle seat back by the bathroom or the window seat in row 12? Talk to the person next to you in the hopes that he or she can someday hire your son or sit there without saying a word for six hours? Watch the airplane movie with earphones that probably don’t work or read and glance up at the movie and try to figure out what they are saying? Be nice to the guy next to you who required a seat belt extender or fume and fuss for the entire flight? (He can’t help it, be nice.) There are millions of other little choices that make for a successful or miserable trip. Make all the little choices and live with them. Go into Zen mode and know that everyone is doing the best they can.
When it comes to going through security, always scan the line in front of you and get behind the people with the least luggage who are wearing loafers. Consider buying shoes just for travelling times. Always avoid getting behind anyone with a fully loaded baby stroller.
But here is a thought that might make you want to wear socks as you take your own loafers off. Remember in high school gym class when the P.E. instructor suggested that you wear flip flops in the shower because the high school showers are loaded with athlete’s foot germs? No one ever did it but it was not hard to imagine a batch of fungus pole vaulting between everyone’s toes. How many people took showers in your high school locker room? Hundreds a year?
Now think about how many people go through those security lines barefoot. Hundreds of thousands a day? I read where someone is suing the airlines for contracting something bad on his feet from walking through security. I guess he didn’t wear socks or those shower-cap-looking feet covers. Wear socks through security.
Virgin America is hip, consider trying them. I have nothing to do with Virgin America. I don’t know any one who works there and have only flown them a few times but they are refreshing in how they use technology and how they treat passengers. They are experimenting with all parts of flying and are not stuck in their ways. The just-in-time food service is one great example. Try suggesting that some of the big guys make changes that could make flying better. Some big airlines still point to the day they sealed up all the ashtrays in the armrests as innovation. Someday all the airlines will be like Virgin America and it will be better world.
If the airlines were smarter, they would have just raised ticket prices where few would have noticed, rather than charge for checked luggage Passengers have no control over ticket prices but they can make lots of people’s lives more difficult by how they deal with this new hurdle in flying. I bet over time that the flight attendants union will have a lot to say about this new rule and its unintended consequences.
The airlines can’t help the fact that oil prices are sky high. I just wish they would make choices with customers in mind – and give us our rights.