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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Air Travel-Worth the Trouble?

At one time, air travel was a luxury, an occasion. Nowadays, trips to the airport are obligatory, dreaded, and uneventful (for most, at least). It used to be that people would put on their best clothes in hopes of being seen at the airport, whereas now airports are crowded with people in sweatpants, jeans, and even pajamas. Not that that’s bad (well, I wouldn’t choose to go out in public in pajamas, but to each his own), but it certainly highlights the evolution of travel, from a symbol of status to a relatively commonplace occasion.
I personally, cannot stand air travel. It’s not that I’m afraid of flying, like many are; I simply don’t have the patience for it. All you do at the airport is wait. You wait to check in, and you’d better hope your bag is under 50 pounds, or you’ll be paying 50 dollars instead of the newly-mandated 25 to get it on the plane with you. Then you wait in the security line, and if you’re like me, you always end up behind someone who doesn’t understand that water is liquid and therefore not allowed on the plane, and even though your laptop is already out of its sleeve and in its own plastic bin, your car keys have been taken out of your pocket, and there is nothing protecting your feet from the filthy carpet, you are at a stand-still in front of the x-ray machine, wondering how the person in front of you doesn’t understand basic airport protocol. You wait at the gate, but of course you don’t have enough time to get anything significant done before they call your boarding group. You get on the plane, where the person seated in front of you immediately reclines his chair into your knees (especially uncomfortable if you’re tall like me), even though he knows the flight attendant will ask him to put his seat back up for take off. If you’re really lucky, there’s a crying baby somewhere on the plane, of course it doesn’t matter where, because the cacophony reverberates throughout the cabin regardless. Long flights endow you with the privilege of the in-flight meal. Last time I was offered a frittata, which I politely declined. Hungry as I may have been, I certainly wasn’t hungry enough. Hope you weren’t planning on suppressing your hunger through sleep, because you will be woken up by the woman in the window seat, trying to plow through you en route to the bathroom. Twice. They finally land the plane and people take their sweet time getting up, and of course a woman sitting in the row in front of you insists on beating you into the aisle, but can’t get her bag out of the overhead compartment, and the man across the aisle doesn’t help her because he wants to get out even faster than you do, and nobody has manners anymore anyway. You wait for your bags at the claim, you consider yourself lucky if they come out of the carousel at all, as your bags have been lost or left in the location of your departure more times than seem likely.
It’s hard to believe that traveling wasn’t always so unpleasant. As technology evolves, people get much more innovative in the ways they choose to sabotage air travel, so many of the inconveniences are preemptive strikes on terrorism, but somehow, people always find new and creative ways to disobey FAA regulations, so we have many more inconveniences to look forward to as time goes on! So the next time you’re being air scanned or patted down in front of your fellow travelers, or the lovely woman in her official airport employee outfit (complete with badge and photo ID!) throws away your hundred dollar bottle of perfume that you ever-so-conveniently forgot to take out of your purse, you can thank those who, in choosing to terrorize America, have also chosen to terrorize you as an individual.

-Kelsey Laubscher


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