Airline Rage in My Old Age
Yes, for women over fifty, or, for that matter, most anyone of any age, modern travel isn’t easy. I just returned from a week’s trip to the heartland visiting my relatives and, although I had a wonderful time, the going wasn’t easy.
To start, I awoke at 3:45 a.m. to give myself enough time to shower and finalize my packing so that I could make my 7:06 plane. There was an earlier flight I could have taken that would have given me more time to make my connection, but that one left at 5:45 a.m. As I opted to luxuriate in a couple of hours extra sleep (a 1 a.m. wake-up is a bit too much at my tender age), I was concerned I might miss it.
Not to worry! When I arrived at the airport the check-in line wound in tight snake-like twists and turns, and then headed halfway up the hallway to the gates. Someone behind me announced that the airlines had cancelled both the 5:45 and the 7:06 and the line was composed of two planeloads of people trying to rebook their reservations.
What fun! It only took two hours to finally get to a reservations agent. I shouldn’t complain, however, because there were people much older than I who were similarly inconvenienced. They even required wheelchairs because that doggone line was so long that they thought they might pass out or crumple to their knees on the hard linoleum floor.
By the time I reached an agent, her likely once obliging smile was frozen in a frustrated grimace… no doubt having been the recipient of numerous angry complaints. And, yes, I added my own to her list. Try as I may, battling both the recorded voice “customer service” computer and the polite but unintelligible folks in India, I was stuck. Lucky me—I only had another seven hours to wait for an outbound flight. Instead of my anticipated 5 p.m. arrival, I got to inconvenience my brother by landing at midnight.
I remember flying with my mother and brother in the 1950s and loving the experience. We’d get all dressed up and settle into our comfy seats waiting for the familiar hum of the propellers to start-up and wend us on our way. The stewardesses were nattily attired in their fashionable uniforms, smiling and ever so helpful. They’d warm my brother’s baby bottles, and then sit next to me to play several hands of Old Maid, keeping me happily occupied and giving my mother a chance to relax.
Ah… the good old days! Do I sound grumpy and judgmental? Am I showing my years with a cantankerous, crotchety attitude? Well, YES, and I stand by all my wrinkled rectitude! As far as the airlines are concerned, a return to yesteryear and the gracious ways of an earlier era wouldn’t hurt. In fact, it would surely prove a boon to the flying public and make one old grumpy gal very, very pleased.