Matt D
Topic Author
Posts: 8907
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 1999 6:00 am

Flying Now-Dilemna: Need Advice

Fri May 10, 2002 1:36 am

I have a problem on my hands. I would like to hear some other perspectives, and also to bring me up to speed on the current state of affairs.

In case you happened to miss any of my rants, I am (still) engaged in an active boycott of the airlines. It has been approximately 340 days since I have last been on a plane (Delta MD-90, DFW-ONT being the last flight).

The reason I am refusing to fly is not because I don't want to or can't afford it. But rather, it's a triple reason for 1) allowing Sept 11 to happen and 2) because of the 'security measures in effect' (specifically 'ticketed passengers only' signage) and 3) as a result of items 1 and 2, I feel that a lifelong hobby was stolen away from me.

I have not been to an airport since Sept 11 (I drove through the ONT terminal parkway once and it gave me the chills).

So here's my problem. I spoke with a couple of my dear loved friends that live in New York last night. They are wanting to know when I am going to be coming out again. I told them that I don't know. That answer didn't seem to sit very well, especially since my annual Fall trip had become a tradition. That tradition was broken when I cancelled last years trip.

There is going to be a wedding that I am going to have to attend because I was assigned a key role in it (being the one that 'gives away' the bride).

I CAN'T get out of that one. But that's not until next year. I don't think they're going to appreciate me waiting 2 years between my visits.

Now on one hand, I have to think of my friends whom I love dearly and always enjoy visiting. And they always love me coming out there because they love taking me to new places.

But at the same time, I feel very strongly about this airline situation. I have a lot of conviction, and am not one to bend easily simply because standing up for what I believe in becomes inconvenient.

I explained to her last night about what taking a trip would be like for me:

It would be a very sad and angry experience filled with all kinds of (mostly) bad emotions.

When she asked what I was talking about, I explained it very simply:

What is one thing you are passionate about?

she said "looking at art".

I said now imagine that someone came along and gouged your eyes out because they thought they were seeking revenge against someone else.

Then imagine that 6 months later, someone took you to an art museum.

How would you feel?

That's exactly the same feeling I would have journeying to an airport. Seeing all of the places I used to have free access to for so many years, and all of the photo shoots I did, the excitement of getting new pictures or a new livery or whatever.

all gone. Now transformed into some kind of "Communist Totalitarian" process.

Which leads me to my next question:

What is the flying experience like now? I used to enjoy the flights and the cabin crews were usually very nice and friendly at best, and sterile and indifferent at worst.

In any case, it was just one piece of the whole travel 'package' and was usually very enjoyable.

Now I imagine the mood to have changed to one of paranoia and distrust. And I would expect to be treated as though I came out from under a rock.

5 hours going and 6 hours back is a long time to have to put up with that. And since there isn't much to do during a flight, my mind will keep coming back to the dreary check in experience. So I'll be totally bummed out on landing.

And not to mention the fact that the first thing I looked for when on approach to EWR was the Twin Towers. They were a 'beacon' to me. I would always look at them whenever I could. To me, they were THE focal point of NYC.

I've seen all of the images and video of what's happened. But you just can't grasp and comprehend the full impact of what has happened until you see it in person. I'm not sure how I would react.

Any thoughts?

Post script:

I know all about the people that died and their families and the way the effects fanned out around the world and all of that. I'm not trying to say that my issues are more important than theirs or anything like that. I'm sure that everyone has their own unique thoughts and feelings about all of this; that it has affected them in their own way.

I respect all of that. This is MY issue that I'm sharing.

So if you want to discuss why my issues are petty compared to yours or everyone elses, please start it in another topic.

Thank you.
Posts: 1299
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2002 8:04 pm

RE: Flying Now-Dilemna: Need Advice

Fri May 10, 2002 2:23 am

I can understand your misgivings about flying after all that has happened and the current "security" situation.
I would suggest;
First, review the list of things that should not be in your carry luggage and comply with them when you pack.
Second, be patient and allow yourself extra time for all the required procedures.
Third, try to put a positive attitude on everything and greet all those you meet who are involved in carrying out these checks. Be aware that some of these people have a high level of paranoia and may act negatively to your friendly attitude.
Four, bring things to keep you positive and pre-occupied. Books, puzzles, a camera; whatever you enjoy and just shutout as much of the unpleasantness that has occurred. You will find fellow travelers who will be even more distressed that you; with your background and knowledge you might be able to uplift their spirits and in doing so keep yours high.
It's mind over matter. They can direct your body here and there, but you can put your mind wherever you want it to be.
Good traveling!!
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Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2000 5:56 am

RE: Flying Now-Dilemna: Need Advice

Fri May 10, 2002 2:25 am

So you don't want to fly because you are pissed at the airline industry? You don't want to give your business to any airport or airline?

Hmmm... What if you drove to Tijuana and took Aeromexico to JFK connecting in MEX? You would be in another country playing by their rules at check in. And in flight. You'd only have to deal with JFK.

If you can't fly, you are looking at a few days travel each way either in your own car, Greyhound, or Amtrak.
Posts: 7714
Joined: Sat Oct 14, 2000 6:13 am

RE: Flying Now-Dilemna: Need Advice

Fri May 10, 2002 2:37 am

Maybe a trip on an airliner is just what you need to put your troubles behind you. 9/11 was a horrible day and everyone reacted to the tragedies in a different way, and your feelings are to be respected. But, maybe if you were to fly again, you will see that it is not "all that different", yes, security is tighter, the lines can be longer, the random checks which are understandable can be tiresome, but the basic travel experience is not really that different in my opinion. (Well, some meal services may be missing, but thats not so important!)

As for your hobby, its sad that the rules are tougher but it is understandable, relax, and think about it. Once on board, maybe your entire problem will resolve will feel safe on board and then accept the rules that limit your hobby. Most of us have gotten beyond our "fear of flying" that resulted from 9/11 by accecpting that it was a one time tragedy that never should have happened, and hopefully, will never happen again, but the first step to putting this all behind you is probably buying an airline ticket and going to visit your friends.

You will also see that NYC, minus the Twin Towers, is moving forward and bouncing back as well.
Posts: 995
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2001 9:30 am

RE: Flying Now-Dilemna: Need Advice

Fri May 10, 2002 3:18 am

The reason I am refusing to fly is not because I don't want to or can't afford it. But rather, it's a triple reason for 1) allowing Sept 11 to happen and 2) because of the 'security measures in effect' (specifically 'ticketed passengers only' signage) and 3) as a result of items 1 and 2, I feel that a lifelong hobby was stolen away from me.

[Engaging rant mode]

I'm sorry I might offend you... but what exactly is your problem?
1) So lax security is was not a good thing, fine...
2) But now you contradict yourself completely. The extra security measures were put in place JUST TO DEAL WITH ISSUE #1!!!. Not to mention that it is a long-overdue improvement that has been in effect all across the world for decades.
3) Huh??? How is your hobby destroyed? You can still fly, you can still spot at airports.

"I have a lot of conviction, and am not one to bend easily simply because standing up for what I believe in becomes inconvenient."

How about using that conviction for something actually important? Like free speech, democracy, fighting hunger, and all those things instead of throwing hissy-fits because you can't walk all over the airport. You seem to have lost your bearing of what is actually important in life.

Of course you should get on a plane and fly to NY! If 9/11 taught us anything, it would be how important it is to treasure the moments we have with our loved ones, since we don't know what will happen next. Get on that plane! See your loved ones and stop mouring for your hobby, mourn for the thousands who died instead.

[Disengaging rant mode]
Posts: 2571
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2001 3:11 am

RE: Flying Now-Dilemna: Need Advice

Fri May 10, 2002 3:39 am

Hear Hear Transwede !!

To add to your comments, on a MAN-IAD service shortly after 9/11, there was a very elderly lady onboard. As the cabin crew chatted with her, one of them said how wonderful it was that this lady was travelling at her age.
The old dear thought the cabin crew member was referring to the aftermath of 9/11, and her comment went something like

"Young lady, we've fought wars, lost family and suffered economic depressions over the years to maintain our freedom and democracy. No man should ever be allowed to take away the freedom of another man. That, young lady, is why I am flying today."

I printed her words out (minus the "young lady"), and carry it in my flying case always. Everytime I get a twinge of doubt or need some reassurance, all I have to do is re-read her wonderful words of wisdom. I recommend anyone who has doubts about flying post 9/11 does the same.  Smile

So I drive a 4x4. So what?! Tax the a$$ off me for it...oh, you already have... :-(
Posts: 5389
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2001 3:24 am

RE: Flying Now-Dilemna: Need Advice

Fri May 10, 2002 3:49 am

Responding to the original posting:

I don't quite understand when you say that your hobby was taken away. It's not as if air travel is that different than it was before September 11th. Yes, security lines can be longer, but the situation has improved. I'll bet that most people flying today are mildly surprised at how short the lines actually are. And notice that the airlines by and large aren't saying anymore that you should be at the airport three hours in advance. As for the rule restricting concourses to ticketed passengers, well, that already had been the case at some airports, and I don't quite see what's so bad about it.
"Let me think about it" = the coward's way of saying "no"

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