For anyone who travels multiple times a year, they know that air travel simply isn’t what it used to be. Before 9/11, we had the luxury of time on our hands. It was more hassle-free, more convenient, and definitely more passenger-friendly. These days, air travel almost seems like a prison sentence. You’re forced to sit in economy seats that seem to shrink everyday, pay hefty fees for everything from your baggage to in-flight WiFi and entertainment, and worse, you have to deal with rude, difficult airport staff members who hate their job and hate you for making them do it.
It’s without a doubt that the events of 9/11 have changed the way everyone flies, from economy to first class. Your options are now more limited than they ever were before while flight prices and airline fees are more expensive than ever before. A simple trip to visit your parents in Toronto costs more than what you are willing to bargain for, while a quick trip to London almost seems impossible. And you can forget about your honeymoon plans to visit Hawaii. You will have to sacrifice a month’s wage before you’ll be able to peacefully sip drinks on a beach. With that being said, here are 15 reasons why 9/11 has made flying suck for everyone now.
15. Flying Is More Expensive
Flying just isn’t as affordable as it used to be. Before 9/11, you could get a good deal from New York City’s JFK airport to Paris and still have money left over to visit all of the major attractions that the City of Lights has to offer, plus buy all of those Eiffel tower souvenirs. These days you have to plan ahead, budget to the very last penny, and use your points in order to get ahead.
Sure, there are plenty of low-cost carriers that can take you to Copenhagen or Reykjavik for less than $200 round-trip. But factor in all of the additional costs, including baggage fees, paying for your in-flight meals and WiFi, or even having to pay ahead for your assigned seat, and you’re already spending more than you have to.
14. TSA And All Their Poking And Prodding
Almost everyone who has ever flown these last 15 years will tell you that they have an embarrassing TSA story. There is probably no one out there who hasn’t been poked or prodded by a TSA agent while going through airport security.
It’s not only embarrassing, but it also feels like someone is invading your personal space. While many passengers understand that this is all part of the safety process and routine, there’s no reason why a female TSA agent should pat you down for several minutes at a time and touch you in places that no one should lay their hands on. Sure, it’s part of the process, but many agents have gone way too far with their suspicion of everyone and their extensive pat downs.
13. More Humiliating For Moms And Families
While there’s no doubt that everyone is moaning and groaning about airline travel, it’s even worse for parents with small children and families. Trying to get your toddlers, their car seats, strollers, formula and breast milk through security is an absolute nightmare. And it gets even worse when you have a child who refuses to comply and cooperate with a dozen people giving you dirty looks for holding up the line behind you.
But what’s worse is when you have to prove that your baby’s breast milk is actually your breast milk in front of a number of strangers at the TSA counter. There have been plenty of stories of mothers forced to drink their own breast milk to prove its authenticity. You haven’t even boarded your plane with your screaming toddler yet, and you already feel like going home at the security check.
12. You’re Treated Like A Usual Suspect
No one likes being treated like a usual suspect, yet that seems to be the case each and every time we choose to travel by air these days. And for some of us, we have no other choice but to fly to our final destinations. Yet by the time you get your printed tickets, deal with the rude airport staff and TSA agents, and board your flight, you are completely over it. That’s because the passengers around you are giving you that suspicious eye just because you don’t look like a typical tourist on his or her way to Walt Disney World or someone who just wants to make it back home to Idaho on time for Thanksgiving.
11. More People Are Racially Profiled
This is the cold, hard truth that a lot of people know about but hate admitting out loud. Our post 9/11 world has made it more difficult for people of certain ethnic or religious backgrounds to travel simply because many people are racially profiled. And it’s not just by airport staff or flight attendants. Even your fellow passengers will make assumptions about you before you even sit down in your assigned seat.
As much as it sucks to admit this, profiling based on your race, your religion, or even your appearance exists and it won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. This makes it even harder for passengers to travel, especially if they are visiting family in what our government considers questionable regions in the world. Unfortunately, no one has a solution for just how we can stop this injustice from happening.
10. The TSA Going Through Your Personal Belongings
How would you feel if an intruder broke in to your home, rummaged through your things and touched all of your personal belongings in your bedroom drawers and bathroom cabinets? Well, if you have ever been stopped by a TSA agent for a random check at the airport, we are sure you can answer this question, because the feeling is about the same.
There’s nothing more humiliating than when a TSA agent goes through your personal belongings and reveals to the world some of your most private and intimate possessions, like your undergarments, for the world to see. I mean, we understand that safety is important, but please stop touching our very private belongings! You don’t need to see them and certainly the dude sitting in 12C behind us doesn’t need to see them either.
9. Rude Airlines Staff Members
We get it. Working in airports almost feels like hell these days. And the situation is only getting worse by the day. But there really is no reason why airport staff members need to be so rude about issuing printed tickets and passport checks at the check in counter.
Please stop giving us such a hard time about being one pound over our luggage weight limit, and stop charging us a ludicrous amount of money for that fee, too. If we could put our wardrobe on a diet, we would. But you don’t have to make us feel like idiots or treat us like we are difficult divas for packing an extra pair of wedges in our suitcase. Please check your rude attitude before you leave the house and don’t ruin our vacations, please.
8. Everyone Is Suspicious Of One Another
The worst part of traveling these days is perhaps the fact that everyone is suspicious of one another, and no one treats anyone with any respect or kindness anymore. Airline travel has made us all so stressed and frustrated with our experiences that we tend to overlook the little details, like helping out a flustered single mom who is traveling alone with her kids or a special needs passenger who requires a little extra attention and care.
To make matters worse, there is no such thing as flying the friendly skies anymore. As a matter of fact, flying is anything but friendly. We don’t want to be bothered, we don’t want to sit near anyone who might appear a little different, and we certainly don’t want to give up our flight for another passenger in need. Simply put, there’s no such thing as a community in the sky. We want to check in, get it over with, and arrive at our final destination as quickly and as effortlessly as possible.
7. Longer Security Lines
This one has got to be the worst headache about air travel these days. It’s without a doubt that airport security lines have gotten much longer after 9/11 and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get better anytime soon. Some lines are so long that people are forced to miss their flights just because they can’t get to their terminals on time. That’s because some idiot on his way to Cincinnati forgot to take his laptop out of his bag, and for some reason or another, thought it was a good idea to bring his economy-sized mouthwash and toothpaste in his carry on luggage.
Sorry folks, but long security lines are here to stay no matter how much we hate it. Until airports come up with a more efficient way to get people checked before they take off for their flights, we just have to put up with it.
6. No-Go Zones At Airports
Airports have become the most difficult places to try and find your way out of. There’s no way you can make it through the entrance and exit without feeling like you are trapped in some kind of ridiculous, complicated maze. And all the no-go zones and restrictions sure do make it much more difficult to navigate, too.
If you’ve managed to get off a flight, pick up your baggage from the luggage carousel and make it out the door to hail a taxi within 15 minutes, consider yourself very lucky. The rest of us have had to walk what sometimes feels like 15 miles, go up elevators, down escalators, and zigzag through terminals only to find that we are completely lost. Simply put, there are so many places you can and can’t go in airports, it’s surprising that many of us make it to our flights on time!
5. You’re Left Hungry During Your Flight
Unfortunately, airlines want to starve you during your flight. Sorry folks, but a bag of peanuts or chips just won’t cut it if you are flying from one coast to another. Unfortunately domestic airlines don’t serve hot meals during four or five hour flights like they used to. Instead, they want you to buy their in-flight pre-packaged boxed meals that usually consist of crackers and hummus and a few cold sandwich options.
While you don’t want to be that passenger that brings along a tuna sandwich on your flight, you also don’t want to be forced to buy a meal you know you are not going to like. Simply put, there are no fine dining options on flights, leaving you to either starve or put up with it.
4. You Have To Pay To Get Ahead
Fees, fees, and more fees. If you want to get ahead at the airport, be prepared to pay a lot of bucks for it. If you want to skip the horrible security lines, you have to pay to be pre-checked by the TSA. Sure, you get to skip the big lines at the airport, until you realize that the TSA pre-check line isn’t any better. Talk about money wasted.
If that weren’t enough, everything at the airport is so overpriced. Considering how limited you are in what you can bring to eat and drink, you are forced to eat your breakfast, lunch and dinner at the airport food court, which usually consists of overpriced fast food menu items you normally wouldn’t touch. And don’t even get us started on the duty free shopping. It’s not the bargain deal that it used to be.
3. Airlines Cutting Costs And Smaller Seats
Speaking of seats, it’s no doubt that they have been getting smaller and smaller as each year passes by. Before you know it, airlines are going to expect us to stand for five hours flights.
Flying economy is no walk in the park as it is, but when you are forced to squeeze in a middle seat with barely any room to put your elbows on an armrest, it can feel like hell, especially if you are traveling on a long haul flight. And to make matters worse, you have to pay an additional fee if you want extra room to stretch out your feet. It’s almost as if airlines want us to feel cramped, like traveling packs of sardines. It’s no wonder everyone is holding their breath before they sit down – we sit so close to one another we can smell each other’s bad breath.
2. You Can Get In Trouble For Your Toothpaste
One of the most annoying things about air travel these days is how limited you are in what you can and cannot bring in your carry on luggage. If you are traveling for business, you can forget about smelling or looking good before your important corporate meeting. That’s because there’s a good chance that your deodorant, toothpaste, mouthwash, hair spray and even body lotion might get confiscated if they are too big.
One of the most frustrating things about traveling is that you can’t bring any of your day-to-day toiletries with you. If you have anything bigger than a hair dryer, be prepared to be questioned. Instead, you are forced to buy the overpriced items in airport duty free shops because even a simple bottle of perfume can get you in trouble. Now that stinks!
1. Air Travel Takes Even Longer Now
If you are planning to make it through the airport in less than one hour for a domestic flight that should only take about an hour and a half, you must still be dreaming somewhere in la la land. It doesn’t matter how long or how short your flight is; be prepared to spend the majority of your day traveling from one airport to the next. Because there’s no such thing as expedited travel in this post 9/11 world that we live in.
If you are in a hurry or you are running late for your flight, you are out of luck. There’s no way you’ll be able to run through an airport terminal like Ross did before Rachel boarded her flight to Paris on the last episode of Friends. In order to get the girl, you’re better off if she takes a taxi or a train.
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