Monday, May 9, 2011
I'm a Travelin' Man...
When I switched jobs about a year ago, one of the things that appealed to me most was that I would be significantly reducing the amount of business travel I had to do. At my previous job, between conferences, board meetings, site visits for future conferences and other events, it seemed like I traveled at least once or twice a month, sometimes making two trips nearly back to back.
Yesterday, however, when I found myself arriving at my fifth airport in two days, I felt like I was stuck in a bit of a time warp. And while the first part of my travel was to celebrate my niece's graduation from college, on Saturday I flew from Orlando to Washington, DC, and then yesterday I flew from Washington to Las Vegas, through Long Beach, CA.
While there are some advantages to travelingparticularly, for me, the opportunity to read while in the air and waiting to boardtravel is becoming less and less appealing as a result of stricter security measures and the increasingly selfish behavior of my fellow travelers. Believe me, I understand the need for heightened security in airports and on planes, especially following Osama bin Laden's recent death, but I believe very few (if any) airports are adequately staffed or prepared to handle the volume of travelers who need to be screened, particularly those who see no reason to pay attention to any of the regulations or procedures they need to follow.
Emptying everything out of your pockets doesn't mean you should leave your wallet or your phone in there until asked. Taking your laptop out of your bag and putting it into a separate bin means, well, just that. And the regulation about no liquids, gels or aerosols over 3 ounces has been around for years now, but yet it constantly seems to surprise people. Which, of course, just delays the screening process for people like me, who can take off my belt and shoes, put my laptop in a bin and get everything on the belt in the blink of an eye.
And don't get me started about the way people behave on planes these days. I realize airlines no longer provide free meals unless you're traveling first or business class, so it makes sense to bring your own food on the plane. But could you stop and think that maybe something with extra onions, or some type of fish, might not be the most appealing scent for your fellow passengers to inhale for a few hours? And when the flight crew announces that the fasten seatbelt sign is on, that actually applies to everyone on the plane. It doesn't mean you can wander down the aisle to get something out of your oversized carry-on bag.
Some airlines now offer free wireless internet service on flights, which has led to some predicting that cell phone calls might eventually be allowed during flights. That might be my cue to stop traveling, because if people scream into their cell phones while they're in their cars or in restaurants, can you imagine how loudly they'll talk at 36,000 feet?
Yes, I know I'm impatient and fairly intolerant. But if travel is becoming more expensive and more of a hassle, shouldn't it be somewhat enjoyable? Of course, it's important to note that I also traded one crazy playground (Orlando) for another (Las Vegas). So, to quote Jimmy Buffett, it could be my fault.