Air Travel and Brain Droppings

Great run this morning at 5 a.m.: cool, clear and almost perfectly quiet. Contrast that to yesterday morning when I was standing shoeless in the security queue at the Akron/Canton airport on the first leg of my out-and-back day trip to DC.

I don’t enjoy traveling much these days. Vacations — yeah, OK. Work — nah. Business travel ranks right up there with a colonoscopy. Just sayin.

Here are some brain droppings from the trip:

  • What did we do to amuse ourselves before cell phones? I know it is near impossible now to drive a car without talking or texting, something to take our minds off keeping the car or truck moving from point A to point B. Yet it is amazing to be in an airport — or in an airport bar (full disclosure here) — and see how many people are talking, texting, doing e-mail and so on. Almost everyone (myself included) — which mirrors research by the Pew Research Center and other organizations indicating that more than 83 percent of us now have a cell phone. Wonder if we’ll reach the day when we quit talking face to face — especially to strangers?
  • I worry now about who is flying the plane. Is/are he/she/they awake? Any job related or personal problems the passengers should know about? Is the pilot and co-pilot adequately paid? On the regional airline like the one I took yesterday, probably not. Here’s a NYT story (“Still on the Job, but at Half the Pay“) about a pilot who was downgraded to first officer as his company pared costs. He took a pay cut of nearly 50 percent — and now makes about $34,000 a year. That’s barely teacher money. Oops. I digress. Since you would think (hope?) that flying required some skill and training, that doesn’t strike me as much of a living wage. And I would kind of like the guy or gal in charge to be happy on the job — as I’m hurling through space. And my ticket cost a little north of $620. Not even any complimentary pretzels or nuts.
  • The guy sitting across the aisle and one row in front of me coughed from the time we got on the plane in DC until we were on terra firma in Ohio. Since I have to undress these days to get on the plane — shouldn’t this guy have been asked to leave mid-flight? Just askin.

Oh, well. I think I’ll just stay home today.


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