Friday, January 15, 2010

And This Bitch is Bored

So I post nothing for two months, and suddenly I post twice in one day. Well, there's a simple explanation: boredom.

I am currently on a plane headed to Los Angeles for a family event - my dad is turning 70. Today is the last day of Virgin America's promotion with Google to offer free wi-fi in flight. That feels really lucky, since the television selection on Virgin leaves much to be desired - well, the free television selection that is (I am a Jet Blue fan, myself - Jet Blue, if you're listening, I happily accept free stuff).

While it may seem a bit hack-y to do a post on the horrors of travel, I am feeling inspired.

As I get older (especially in a post 9-11 world), travel becomes more of a chore and less of a delight. I mean, flying used to be magical. You were flying for f***'s sake! And, people used to dress up for flights. Okay, so I am not old enough to really have witnessed that (or smoking on planes, thank goodness), but I have heard a lot of stories. These days, people don't even get DRESSED to fly. It's all track suits and bed head.

Also, the colder the climate I live in, the more I feel like you practically have to get naked to go through security! Take off your shoes, your jacket, your sweatshirt, your belt. And god forbid you bring a lap top. You have to unpack it from your carry on and scan it separately. AND your quart size bag of liquids that must be 3 ounces or less need to also come out of the carry on. Honestly, what is being accomplished?

About a year ago, I was flying out of Dulles and made the mistake of bringing a trial size body wash that was *gasp* 4 ounces. Well, despite having flown successfully with it about a half dozen times, it was taken away. I turned to the woman behind me in line and said, "don't you feel safer now?" I mean, seriously? The liquid thing feels like such a farce, and most of the screening process feels like theater. If I actually felt any safer, I would probably see it differently. But look at what happened on Christmas. And yes, I am sure there are many attempted attacks we hear nothing about because they are thwarted. But, then I don't hear about those! And intelligence probably plays a bigger role in preventing that stuff than TSA does...but, I digress.

All I know is that the TSA can learn a lot from El Al (the national airline of Israel). Let me tell you, I have been to Israel and they know their shit. The ticket counter people come up to you one by one as you wait in line and ask you a series of simple questions while staring at you incredibly intently. It's intimidating as all get out - but it's worked for them for a long time now. And I recently learned watching CNN (what do you know, I learned something watching CNN? That network is such a joke, but that's for another post.) that in Israel every single airport employee down to the parking attendants and janitors are trained to watch passenger behavior and report anything suspicious. Meanwhile, what is the rigorous training those TSA officials undergo? Seriously, does anyone know?

For the amount of money plane fare costs - not to mention the nickle and diming nature of air travel currently (paying for one checked bag?! RIDICULOUS) - it's amazing the indignities we all put up with.

I don't profess to know the answer. Obviously, there are real dangers in today's society and airplanes appear to be the weapon of choice for a lot of extremists. But, with all the technology we have today (HELLO I am FLYING and on the internet), there's got to be a better way.

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