Monday, December 31, 2007

And it used to be just the food that sucked . . .

Now they've managed to make something basically very fun (I've always liked flying in and of itself, I'm not driving, I can have a drink, read a book . . . ) into a sucky experience from end to end. Oh, they may have frequent flyer programs but I don't know anyone who wants to fly frequently . . . .

Megan (can I call you by your first name?) links to some new dipwaddery by the TSA (previously noted by Mr. Massey).

True story: Coming back home from LA this summer, we had to fly out of LAX. Coming in wasn't bad, but when we needed to check in, at some point in the process we needed to drop our luggage off for some or another random search. Like many public places, unfortunately, what you are supposed to do isn't clearly marked, and there weren't many people around. Except for the yeller. As we shuffled through our line, she pointed and said something and when the customer in front of me asked what she said she yelled at the customer to put her suitcase in the pile. Now it wasn't a pile, but it did look pretty ad hoc. And this wasn't a "command voice" type of thing, but sounded like "obey now" type of thing.

And as a note, I'm one of those people who while kinda sloppy in a lot of every day things (desk, sometimes inside of my car) I superorganize for trips. I make sure I have money, tickets, id, etc., all right there and available. I want to make things as seamless and painless as possible. I found this screaming very very weird. All that the woman in line in front of me wanted was some clarification.

Now, here's the thing I haven't seen talked about, but do the airlines like this new security? Is this how they would do it? Or does it help them do one thing they didn't get to do before: call all irate passengers a security threat? To what extent are they accomplices in making flying so miserable for anyone but a solo man to fly? (I joke about the men, but men typically don't need makeup, and they will use the hotel soap and shampoo.)

I mean, if the airline just wants you to get on and shut up and take your flight does this help them? I mean, its not like they ramped up the customer service to make up for the grief we're getting outside the "wire" before we're let into the Airport. Not to mention the whole idea of not letting folks into the airport unless they have a ticket . . . . (which is incandescent stupidity . . . because the 9/11 losers had perfectly good plane tickets. There's not a THING they are doing now that would have caught them. )

Would any other service or transportation industry agree to hassling its customers in this fashion?

As has been said before, this is security theatre. It's the going through the motions. It's not actual security and it goes on with the tacit, if not actual, approval of every airline.

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