The American Air Travel Nightmare

Honestly, I HATE flying. I hate the confusion when you’re getting in and out of a strange airport. I hate showing up a couple of hours early at the airport to make sure I don’t miss my flight. I hate the obtrusive security checks. I hate the way they pack you in like sardines in teeny, tiny seats.

“Oh, but things will be so much better when they have full body scanners everywhere and you can just zip through security!”

Yeah…about that, this quote from passenger Lydia Habhab, who actually had to go through one of these scanners, jumped out at me:

I felt personally violated, but I understand why the procedures are necessary.

Being “personally violated” as a condition of using a service sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

As if that wasn’t enough, as per usual when the government gets involved, things only go downhill from there. That has certainly been the case with flying. As Richard Reid and the Pantsbomber proved, the government’s security measures don’t actually prevent terrorists from getting on the planes. Meanwhile, customers have to put up with nonsense like this:

There’s new fallout Monday from a breach that triggered pure chaos at Newark Liberty International Airport, and officials are beginning to point fingers after thousands of passengers were corralled into a jam-packed waiting area when an intruder slipped past a checkpoint.

…A private security guard was disciplined Monday following Sunday night’s security breach and mass passenger re-screening. It was an ordeal that began at 5:30 on Sunday night when someone went into a terminal through an exit.

The massive backup stretched on past midnight with a residual hangover that dragged into the new day.

“Because of the lockdown situation, we missed the connection,” traveler David Bannister told CBS 2 HD, his wife Jill adding they’d been up for 27 hours without a break.

Experts said security officers had no choice once they lost track of the intruder.

…Then there’s the question of accommodating the thousands who experienced the massive inconvenience. The Port Authority insists it did its best and said restaurants and toilets were available, but with crowds so thick, the question became, what more could they do?

It was a maddening delay for people caught in the crush. The crowd swelled to 10,000 at one point. Ernesto Butcher, the COO of the Port Authority, which owns the airport, apologized for the incident and told CBS 2 HD he had some stern conversations with TSA.

What we’re doing now? Contrary to what Janet Napolitano might believe, it ain’t working. We need a rethink of our air travel system, preferably one that features much less government involvement and more emphasis on customer satisfaction.

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