Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Fault In Our Air Travel

Just yesterday I arrived back in the states after a month and a half away in Europe. The trip was long, boring, exhausting, and touched with sadness (I found out about Robin Williams' death when I checked my phone during my layover in North Carolina). 

Anyways, the travel time was more than 24 hours. First, 4.5 hours by bus from my town in the north of Spain to Madrid. 3 hours of waiting until the flight left, and then a nearly 10 hour flight to Charlotte. Next, a 4 hour layover in Charlotte, actually 5.5 since my flight was delayed, and then a 2 hour flight. 

Let's start here. If you ever plan on going to Madrid, don't go on U.S. Airways and don't go through Charlotte. 

You'd think, that with the money spent on airplane tickets, US Airways would at least provide a personal TV for each seat, right? Nope! No individual TVs, just one big screen at the front of the main cabin and one in the middle. What's even worse is that one of the movies they put on was the Muppets' Movie. Really? This meant that I had to spend over $15 downloading rented movies on iTunes so I wouldn't bore myself to death on the plane. It's nearly impossible for me to sleep on airplanes, buses, cars, etc. The only way I might be able to sleep is if I rest my head on the tray table, and I rarely get to do that since EVERYBODY leans their seat back. HOW DOES THAT HELP YOU SLEEP??? It only goes down a bit, it won't make a big difference in your sleep quality! The food on the plane is terrible, so I don't eat, and then I starve, and whatever I eat, I can't go to the restroom - I just can't. So I get bad constipation cramps (sorry if that's TMI). 

Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. A small airport in North Carolina. At first, I didn't know why the plane ticket from Houston-Charlotte-Madrid was one of the cheapest available. After going through Charlotte, I got an idea of why that is. You see, small international airport and lots of planes = lots of people in a small airport. Customs was a nightmare - completely disorganized - one person to direct lots of tired, confused people to several different lines. And not enough space to hold all the planes. So lots of planes are usually delayed so as to make room and then, since there's like one takeoff runway, it's another 30-45 minutes to takeoff because planes have to take turns. 

Not to mention the fact that each time I get on a plane the experience I have a less and less pleasurable experience. The smell in the plane makes me gag, seats are squeezed together so the airlines can make more money - I mean, a good majority of America's population is obese or getting there and those people couldn't fit in one of those seats. So they either got to pay for two seats just to fit them (which may be about the same price of 1 first class seat, depending on the flight), pay for a first class seat or just not travel. You don't travel comfortably in those seats with barely enough leg room - which decreases if someone puts back their seat. Seats on trains and buses are infinitely more comfortable than plane seats and you pay significantly less for those tickets. The food is awful. Our airlines need major improvement - to be less greedy to start. I'm just glad I don't have to travel on a plane until at least next summer. 

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