Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

A Lesson You Learn . . .

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. . . as you slip into your senior years is

it’s really really good to wake up and pee

and really really much better

than peeing and then waking up

Getting There is Getting Rougher —

and You Suffer

After several years of covering the airline industry as a business writer for a daily metropolitan newspaper, working for an airline company for a handful of years, and a million or so miles on commercial airlines, my view of airline companies has not changed.

They do not view you as a welcome passenger they can whisk off to exotic lands and happy holidays. You are simply a vacant seat if you’re not on one of their aircraft. They may make apologetic announcements when they delay or cancel your flight, but they really aren’t sorry.

The unfortunate part is that bad customer behavior is inflicted upon the airline staffers who do care – flight attendants and gate agents.

Ever see how the baggage handlers handle your luggage?  Ever hear pilots discuss the uncomfortable conditions they cause when they decide to delay or cancel your flight? Ever stumble upon a sympathetic ticket agent willing to give you a refund when your flight is canceled?

Nothing’s really changed as airlines moan and groan about the sudden onrush of travelers and staff shortages because they can’t rehire personnel fast enough after the COVID-19 pandemic slowdown. More than one out of four flights is either cancelled or delayed for a planeload of reasons – backups in the system, staff shortages, weather, mechanical problems, runway crowding, pick a problem.

You have to prepare for discomfort as well as delays if you intend to fly somewhere on a commercial airliner. This is after putting up with TSA frisking at the airport that you arrived at three hours before takeoff time before you even get on an airplane. Then there’s taxi time and gate-waiting time and on and on and on.

On board, you pay for a pillow and blanket. Don’t even think about getting a snack. Pack your own lunch at home and take an empty plastic bottle so you can fill it at an airport fountain before taking flight.

More than 900 flights are cancelled every day, according to Federal Aviation Administration data.

That may sound like a lot, but let’s look at the daily picture. The FAA handles more than 45,000 flights every day taking almost 3 million passengers into and out of the more than 9,500 airports U.S. airports – 14,500 are small private airports. There are as many as some 5,400 aircraft buzzing overhead at any given time.

There are bound to be problems. So you have to prepare for the worst when you embark on a trip to the airport to board an airplane.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

September 21, 2022 at 3:00 am

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