When Flying Was Luxury
Once Upon a Time
To fly, in those ancient days, was luxury. Passenger was treated as a persons of value. The plane was built for comfort. The staff was trained to work at Buckingham Palace.
People were treated with respect at all times, from entering the departure lounge, to boarding the plane, to being escorted to their seats.
The seats were roomy, plush and there was leg space.
Meals were served, gourmet meals. On short flights, it might be coffee and a pastry, on long flights one was never hungry.
If one needed a pillow or a blanket, they were quickly supplied. If one wished a second drink, it was not a problem.
One could stretch out a bit, tipping back their chair without harming the person behind them.
The bathrooms were well stocked,
There was more than one entry and exit door, so the First Class passengers had their door, the economy had theirs.
One always checked their luggage, and as long as it was under fifty pounds, there was no fee.
That was then.
This is Now.
Worse Than a Mini Van
Today, passengers are treated like dirt. Everyone is a potential terrorist. Bags are searched, bodies are searched; in fact, if you've ever been arrested and put on a van going to prison, the pat down is less intrusive.
After being lined up like inmates going for lunch, boarding is allowed. The passengers are crammed into small seats. Considering how fat most people are today, they can barely squeeze in.
The seats are not soft and the one in front of you is so close that if it is reclined, the passenger before you is virtually on your lap.
There is no food; maybe a small bag of snack, maybe a drink, but that's it. Every bit of luggage put into the hold has to be paid for, so people load their carry-ons, and fight over the small overhead space.
The passage between the rows of seats is so narrow, fat people get stuck, and the on board staff treats you with less respect that a country gal trying to bring a chicken onto a minivan.
In Jamaica, there are minivans that go to 'country'. People are squashed together as the driver swings into traffic, any complaint gets you standing on the road.
Flying today is like boarding a mini van to go to Morant Bay. The standards and quality are that low.
In fact, it is impossible for me not to compare flying to riding a hot old minivan to Morant Bay.
Being on the plane, locked into a tiny seat, the onboard staff ignores the passengers as much as they can.
Try to go to the bathroom... considering how many people are jammed into the plane and the fact there are two toilets makes it one of those horror stories.
The plane can sit on the runway for any interminable time, and if one misses a connecting flight tough turnips.
Once landing, one has to wait and wait for disboarding, walk miles to the arrival area, be searched and checked again, and finally allowed to escape.
After All That
For the past few months we've heard about people getting beaten on planes. Not terrorists, passengers. Paying passengers, who having Paid for their Seat are asked to move and refuse.
You can imagine how I felt, flying to America from Jamaica.
The first thing I did, as I checked in, is ask if this was the airline which punches people in the face.
I was assured it wasn't. But I would not take chances.
If they asked me to change my seat, (which they did) I instantly agreed, as I didn't want to get beaten, having paid big U.S. dollars for this journey.
Returning home, they searched my luggage. A friend had given me a fancy ski cream, which the Airline took away from me. I didn't argue.
Traveling once a year is enough for me.