Truths: To Everyone Working in Airline Travel, “We have had enough!”

There once was a time when it was exciting to fly commercially.  Ages ago, people dressed in their finest clothes, dolled up their faces and boarded planes looking to be treated like royalty.  Hot meals, free cocktails, smiling stewardesses.  It was a magical time up in the air.

As economies changed, flying became more accessible to everyone.  No longer was air travel available only to the rich.  Now, most people could save up enough money to fly once a year and enjoy the luxury of such speedy travel.  And it was still a pleasurable experience.  While hot meals turned to bags of peanuts, cocktails were often included in the ticket price and overall, passengers were still customers and treated as such.

Then, 9/11 happened.  One of THE most tragic events in our country’s history.  Immediately, airline travel changed.  At one time loved ones could be seen kissing at the airline gate, now they had to say their goodbyes long before the security lines.  “No ticket, no entry.”  TSA (Transportation Security Administration) quickly became our future.  Instead of loading vodka and gin in our carry-ons, we were told to empty out water bottles, take off our shoes and damn nearly all our clothes just to get through security.

We were understanding.  We were patient.  No one wanted to see 9/11 happen again and if it meant giving up a few comforts for the safety of flying, so be it.

At around the same time, airlines started to really tighten their belts (as we were forced to take ours off).  Seats became smaller – less leg room, we started to have to pay for any damn bag we brought on the plane, no more peanuts – hell, even a glass of tap water would cost you.  The tray tables are half as big. I can’t even stand the water bottle I buy (after security) on it anymore. Hard to believe a hot meal was ever served.

Soon, it seemed, as consumers, we had less and less rights.  Flights were overbooked and for some reason, the airlines are never held accountable.  We pay the outrageous ticket fees and yet, there we are sitting on the cold floor of a busy airport waiting for the next plane that has room.

The TSA is always yelling… “Shoes off, take out your laptops, your iPhones, your change, your keys, your whole fricking life.”  Here’s a thought for TSA… stop yelling.  I know you have to say the same thing all day, but when you say it to me, it is the first time I have heard it from you.  Don’t yell at me because Jane didn’t follow your directions earlier.

And, here’s a brilliant idea… maybe, just maybe, if every airport in America followed the same security rules, more Americans would know what the hell to do.  Instead of putting shoes in containers at one airport or just placing them on the security belt at another, or instead of taking out phones in Chicago, but not in Phoenix… If you could just make the rules consistent, perhaps, we would all know what to do each and every time.  But, no matter what, please stop yelling at us.

Oh and while I am at it… is it really necessary to rip the teddy bear out of the crying 3 year old’s hand and demand that her favorite toy in the whole world be placed on the belt of the X-ray machine instead of letting her carry it through the human x-ray machine?  I mean if there really is a bomb in the teddy bear, shouldn’t the human x-ray machine find it, too?

Here’s the thing about airline travel in 2018, unlike our justice system, “Innocent until proven guilty,” I feel like we are all terrorists until the plane we are on lands safely.  That is so wrong.

Flight attendants have been given some kind of extraordinary power to the point where normal law abiding citizens lose all sense of self and courage and no longer feel the ability to do the right thing. How many phone videos have we all watched where it is obvious the flight attendant’s actions were wrong, misguided, sometimes even illegal and yet no one stepped in?  People live in fear that any actions that go against the direction of the flight attendants will place them in Federal prison.

I remember having to use the bathroom (REALLY BAD) and the flight attendant being so rude and obnoxious about me getting up to use the bathroom during some light turbulence.  C’mon, really?  I am a middle aged adult, surely I can make a decision about using the bathroom without feeling like a fricking criminal?

We have endured nothing but abuse these last few decades with the airlines.  Crammed in seats few humans fit in, treated like terrorists, bumped off flights, rarely told the truth about any delayed flight situation and yet, for the most part, we suck it up.  We see it as the price to pay for the convenience of flying.

I have been sucking it up for a long time and was willing to keep at it until just this week a United Airlines flight attendant forced a dog into an overhead bin and KILLED him.

Airlines have been mistreating dogs for a long time, specifically, the ones who had to travel under the plane.  Many have died, many have been shipped to the wrong state, country, continent, but when a dog whose owner paid for him to fly under her seat is forced into a compartment with NO air and NO chance of survival – I have to stand up and ask all of us, “How much more are you willing to sacrifice?”

When in the Hell are airlines going to be held accountable for the horrendous way they treat paying customers?

We don’t fly for free.  They are not a non-profit organization.  Killing a 10 month old puppy has got to be our limit, right?  Or, are we going to wait until they shove a crying baby in an overhead bin?

This has got to stop.  It is time the airlines re-think who the paying clients are.  I can tolerate a lot – we have all tolerated a lot, but knowingly killing a puppy?  Knowingly placing it in an area without oxygen?  A trained flight attendant forced a puppy into an overhead bin and no other flight attendant on that flight did anything about it?  Even after hearing it cry for help? These are trained individuals who know damn well there was no oxygen for that puppy to breathe.

And all of the passengers on the plane who were aware of the situation, who heard the puppy barking and whining for TWO hours, felt too afraid to act because they believed if they disobeyed the flight attendant they would go to prison?

Let me remind my fellow Americans, “We are not prisoners.  We live in a free country.  We have rights – even on a plane.  Above all, we have the right (I also believe the DUTY) to SAVE a dog being murdered by a flight attendant.

There needs to be justice not just for the helpless puppy, not just for the family, but really, for all of us.  Enough is enough.