The Frustrations of Flying

December 5, 2011

in Flying Hell Commentary

Air travel is supposed to be convenient, save time and offer a chance to relax when going from one place to another. In reality, however, those hopes can often vanish amidst a series of mounting frustrations that leave a traveler wondering if it was worth boarding a plane in the first place.

Just about every traveler has had to endure frustrating situations either before, during or after a flight. Listed below are some of my biggest pet peeves.

Delayed flights: It is the scenario everyone dreads. You fight through traffic so you can check-in, go through all the security screenings and board your flight on time. Once at the airport, you discover your flight is going to be delayed for several hours. It does not matter what reason is behind a delayed flight. The thought of being stuck in an airport terminal indefinitely can drive you crazy.

Rude employees: Aggressive TSA employees can make going through security checkpoints feel as uncomfortable as getting a tooth pulled at the dentist’s office. In fact, I know from experience that potentially upsetting situations can be made much more tolerable (or even pleasant) when handled by an agent who has a good attitude and a positive demeanor. Mary Poppins was right: a spoonful of sugar does indeed help the medicine go down! On the flip side, however, a belligerent or rude agent can take even a small inconvenience like a malfunctioning seat display or a delay and turn it into a miserable experience that won’t be forgotten. Attitude is everything, and it makes all the difference in the world to the experience I remember when traveling.

Flying with children: Sitting in the same vicinity as children on a plane can be nerve wracking. Some are screaming for their parents. Others delight in kicking your seat or tripping people in the aisle as they walk past. It is enough to make you want to break out your wallet and promise their parents you will pay for a babysitter if they leave their kids at home next time.

Lost luggage: With all the highly-trained people involved in the process, you would think keeping track of luggage would be a simple thing. The problem is that you might fly to Hawaii for a beach vacation and discover your swimsuit and suntan lotion was shipped to Alaska. Lost luggage is not only annoying, it is expensive since airlines rarely reimburse the full cost of lost luggage.

Damaged luggage: Seeing your luggage arrive at the right destination is no guarantee it will arrive in one piece. Airport employees have a penchant for tossing bags around like footballs and causing that bottle of shaving lotion or perfume to break open and leak out all over your clothes. It leaves a mess waiting to greet you as an unwelcome surprise when you finally arrive at your hotel.

This is just a general look at the frustrations of flying. Commercial airlines do their best to provide great customer service and a comfortable atmosphere, but with so much room for error in the air travel experience, a frustration free flight isn’t always in the cards.

– Philip J Reed on behalf of Redstone College, which offers degrees in avionics.

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