This whole body scanner/pat down issue is just getting riduculous. Sexual assault, really? And it won't be long before the airlines push one more thing to break the camel's back and totally destroy people choosing to fly.
Where to start?? -- tickets are expensive. You pay a ton of money to sit in a CRAMPED seat (if you're in coach, which is all we can afford anyway). And then you may or may not get any type of in-flight entertainment, which you MIGHT be able to see a screen located behind some giant-haired lady's head. And should I mention in-flight food? Blech.
Then you have moms like me with little babies and toddlers who are having to be kept entertained. Forget changing diapers and potty training because those toilets (if you can get the door open) hardly fit a 7-year-old, let alone a full-grown average sized adult. And always bring your own hand sanitizer (if it passes through security) because I don't know about you, but I can't ever fully wash my hands in the mini sized sink.
Oh, and we also have to pay and arm and a leg to check luggage. Which, it seems common sense to me that if you're going someplace you usually need clothing and since we can't bring our toiletries on the plane because, OMG, they are fluid, we are forced to check them.
And of course we are at the mercy of the weather. Delays anybody? I had to fly out of O'Hare one time and we ened up being delayed nearly 7 hours. The flight was only, like 4! Can I say completely uncalled for? Ug.
Perhaps here is a good place to mention that I am actually a polite traveller. I try to be helpful and non-confrontational to the workers. They probably don't like some of the stuff they have to do either and are just trying to do their jobs. And it usually pays off -- if you're nice to them they treat you better and try to help when they can. My goal every time I fly is to make the security people smile.
I have actually had the PLEASURE of flying out of Tokyo's Narita Airport several times. For some reason, going through the Japanese security system and customs was waaaaay less stressful and faster than any airport I've gone through in the U.S. (except maybe the Sunport in Albuquerque, but it's small and never busy). What do they do different? I have no idea, but it is much smoother (though still expensive).
When we were PCSing from Japan we misread our flight information and showed up less than an hour before our flight was to leave for Hawaii. They suggest you get there at least 2 hours before the flight. Anyway, we actually got all the way through security and ran to our gate with a few minutes to spare --- and there were 3 very sad looking people watching us at the gate who were to fly standby.
I really don't have solutions to all these airline issues. Perhaps part of these problems are over paranoia and at the same time wanting to be politically correct and refrain from possibly insulting certain people.
We're flying home for Christmas (non-stop thankfully) and it is such a hassle. If it weren't for all the mountain passes we would have to go through I would highly consider driving more often ..... if I could convince my husband.
Maybe the U.S. should adopt more traits from the Japanese... I think there would be less stress at the airport.