I never really analyzed how much more difficult traveling by air has become since 2001. But everytime I see a pre-2001 movie I'm reminded of the ease by which we once traveled. Sure we always had to go through the metal detector. But anyone could go through, even those without tickets. You could pick people up at the gates rather than waiting for them at the baggage claim. And although parking in the white zone was still a no-no, there was metered parking and a lack of voraciousness displayed by current Airport Police. Actually the first time I think I was ever racially profiled was at the airport not too long ago, when I was pulled over twice for no reason! The first time it had mostly to do with a long haired and bearded passenger in my passenger seat. The policeman didn't even look at me, he pointed at said passenger and we pulled over. The second time had more to do with the fact that I didn't have plates on my 1-month old Subaru. This was the guy that really got under my skin, the conversation went along these lines.
Police Officer: I pulled you over, because you don't have plates and you tried to merge into the next lane.
Me: Yes, officer I didn't want to park so I moved over a lane. And I bought my car 2 weeks ago, so I still don't have plates. (Not to mention, the DMV has 90 days to send the plates!).
Police Officer: What nationality are you? (As he peruses my license)
Me: Officer, why is information necessary?
Police Officer: Uhhhhh.....Well....I just wanted to be able to pronounce your name. (Clearly backtracking from previous line of questioning)
Me: Its pronounced Moan-Heh.
Police Officer: Well Ms. Moan-Heh, be careful and have a nice day.
Well now they've added another pain to air travel. Paying for checking in your luggage. I still don't understand why the airlines chose this rather than encouraging people not to check by giving them a rebate or free drinks for carrying on their luggage. Plus at barely 5 feet I find it discriminating to force short people to pay just because they can't physically put their carry on in the bin. Not to mention it is also gender discrimination, because us females tend to have makeup, hair products and the like that are over the 2 oz. limit and wouldn't all fit in a quart size bag forcing us to check bags (lest we rather look like a Yeti on our trip). How about age discrimination? Old people can't be expected to carry their bags with them everywhere, think about how many times they go to the bathrooom! There has to be better ways to cut costs/increase revenues than prey on elderly, short, females.
This weekend I'm headed to the Bay and I will attempt to carry on in preparation for what will now become my future (I'm way too cheap to pay if I don't have to). I wonder what they're going to do when everyone shows up with carry-on baggage and the room in the overhead compartments are full. I'm sure that will do wonders for on-time flights and the amount of lost luggage.