What If You Didn't Have to Fly?

The New York Times reports some first-hand experiences this week on the world's new virtual battlefield: Airport security.

Will you fly, if you don't have to for work?

I gave it up in January, 2008 after the Iowa caucuses. With one exception in 2008 and two in 2009, I have gone from someone who for years flew somewhere every ten days, sometimes more, to someone who just said "Enough" with the waste of time and the hassle. (I think it was the "arrive at the airport 2 hours before your flight" and having to get your bags to the check-in counter 45 minutes before the flight, as well as the constant lifting of the carry-on bag to get the laptop out at screening and then packing it back in again and remembering the noise-canceling headphones and money spent unnecessarily on magazines and bottles of water and lousy food and always having my arms full, that pushed me over the top.)

And that was before all these new measures. I have no flights planned for 2010. I'm going to try to get through the year without taking any.

How about you? How much time waste and physical inconvenience are you willing to put up with?

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    flying (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by jharp on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 07:52:36 PM EST
    I have flown over 1 million miles. Over 40 trips to Asia, to Australia, and Europe. And no less than 50 trips across the country, and hundreds of shorter trips.

    And I'm doing everything I can to never fly again. Though it has a lot to do with claustrophobia in addition to the major hassle.

    My brother and good friends feel the same.

    I drive whenever I can. If it's 10-12-14 hours driving and I have to switch planes. I drive. If it's 20 hours and I can get a non stop, I'll fly.

    By the way, I like driving. Love seeing the countryside. And I like driving alone even more.

    private jet (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by jharp on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 08:00:10 PM EST
    By the way, I also had the privilege of flying on a private jet.

    It's the difference between a cold arctic night and a sunny day in the summer. It takes about 15 minutes after getting to the airport to be in the air. And the inside of the jet is like a small bachelor pad.

    I'd travel that way any day.

    As a GA pilot (none / 0) (#76)
    by Slado on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:07:07 AM EST
    it has long been suspected that the continued hassle and cost of commercial airlines would lead to the development of small charter services using VLJ's (very light jets) or medium turbo props.

    We'll see.

    I will say that I've accelerated my training to get my instrument rating and will try to convince the wife to invest in a small 6 seat single engine airplane so we can completely avoid commercial travel.

    My father has been a pilot for 30 years and he only uses commercial aviation when he travels overseas.

    We took a trip to CO last year with my father and he flew me, my wife, two boys and my mother and all our stuff for a 1 week trip to the Rockies and it was effortless.  He has a twin engine Beechcraft Baron and we went from IN to CO in 6 hours with 1 fuel stop.    

    If you have the inclination General Aviation is the answer to your prayers.


    I have no choice. (5.00 / 6) (#7)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 08:14:45 PM EST
    Never have and as long as I keep doing what I do, I won't.  Who cares what people who have a choice think? has been my question from the start of this fiasco.  They are all perfectly willing to be groped and pulled out of line because they never will be.

    I had a TSA agent ask me what my breasts were.  I showed him.  Everyone gasped.  Another asked me to lift up my shirt.  I did.  She got pissed that I showed her everything.  I told her that she should be more specific.  I had my ATM card stolen by a woman wearing a full burka.  I was searched repeatedly when the scary terrorist of the day was a guy of arab or pakistanis descent with a scraggly beard and very dark hair - I am a blonde germanic /english/dutch/scottish girl.

    I have never been more resentful of "a system" than this one.  I have spent hours and hours being double checked and triple checked and touched - freakin' touched - for no other reason than baseless paranoia since 9/11.  I am tired of it and I KNOW that we are no more safe because of this silliness.  Not even remotely.

    Good for you for hardlining this (none / 0) (#11)
    by Ellie on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 08:40:20 PM EST
    I'd rather resort to full public nudity and dare them to arrest me for lewdness than passively accept being groped and scanned.

    I'm not flying either, but sending a proxy in my stead to do my biz (plus, telling the airlines they've lost my biz over this AND the local rotary clubs that lost the franchise/new shop I shelved over the cost -- and woman-punishing aspect -- of Obamacare).

    Train-traveling if necessary, but otherwise, staying put.


    I've flown quite a bit.. (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Raskolnikov on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 09:19:44 PM EST
    ..and the security has never been an issue unless I was flying out of a large airport.  The nice thing about living in Iowa, even though you pay an arm and a leg for the connecting flight to a major hub, is that security is a breeze.  When I lived in California, flying out of LAX was awful, I'd generally pay the extra to fly out of John Wayne.  Heathrow is worse than Gatwick, even though Heathrow was incredibly convenient to get to via tube living in London.  I don't regularly fly for any business reasons, only personal, so I'm perfectly willing to spend the extra time in security...most of the time the "two hours before" is extreme overkill and I ignore it, besides it gives me a chance to drink two overpriced Sam Adams' in the airport bar.

    Anymore the biggest thing holding me off flying is the cost.  Tickets are bad enough, but the new taxes are sometimes up to 25% of the ticket cost.   But air travel has always been a bit ridiculous from an economic perspective: as my father, who works in the aerospace engineering world has always said, there's no money in airlines but always money making parts for airlines.  Massively subsidized from many levels, bailouts and cost externalization has made it possible, but fuel costs make the whole business largely cost prohibitive.

    True that (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 11:40:56 PM EST
    Small regional airports are dizzyingly pleasurable to fly from.  I've not flow from our Burlington airport in VT, but I've taken and picked up friends who were, and it's like going through your neighborhood coffee shop-- no lines, no waiting, cheerful, chatty staff who go out of their way to help you, probably because they really haven't got anything else to do except problem-solve for passengers.  Bliss.

    Yep, that's true.... (none / 0) (#53)
    by dutchfox on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 12:00:33 AM EST
    I live in Burlington and find the airport staff helpful and attentive.

    The Dothan airport is nice for that (none / 0) (#68)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:21:09 AM EST
    too, but it adds a lot more onto your ticket price than if you flew out of Montgomery.  And it is a puddle jumper to Atlanta no matter how you slice it.

    If Amtrack would take dogs in cargo (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by nycstray on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 10:18:03 PM EST
    I would so be on a train in 6 weeks. The California Zepher (sp?) would have been perfect and if you buy a pass good for 8 rides ($389) you can take breaks and visit some nice places like Denver iirc :) Would have been the perfect choice for me and a nice little vacation in the middle of a move.

    I'm very concerned with how many hours before a flight we have to get there as I have to leave the Dot at security and then won't see here again until CA, about 9hrs later is my estimate. I can't imagine parents with children are still thinking about taking optional air travel for vacations with children. I bet more folks will opt to vacation closer to home with young children. Especially if they take the youngins play dough . . . .

    You can bet after the move, I won't be flying anywhere soon. I may vacation by train though since the Dot won't need to come :)

    Only 6 more weeks until you're (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by caseyOR on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 10:30:15 PM EST
    back in the Golden State, nycstray? Wow. Will you be moving into the cabin immediately?

    Too bad about Amtrak and dogs. Train travel is the way to go if at all possible. The only reason I can think that would force me to fly would be if something happened to my mom, and I had to get to Illinois fast. (knocking on all the wood within reach.)

    Will you still be nycstray once you are settled in California?


    Got a house (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by nycstray on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 10:56:51 PM EST
    I'll be staying in the bay area along the bay for awhile. I'll be going back and forth to the cabin. Kinda playing it by ear and the family's needs, so I got myself a nice 2bdrm Victorian cottage with a backyard and sep studio/workshop. The woman that owns the place is a gardener, so there's already a vegetable planting area, fruit (apples and something else for sure) and the rest is flowers and stuff like a magnolia tree and the front porch is covered in wisteria. I'm pretty excited as it's more space than I have here and it will give me a chance to spread out my work/projects into sep areas. And I'll be able to start planting right away :)

    I think I may have come up with a way to take the train. A friend there might know a good kennel with indoor/outdoor runs. I could ship Dot to her and she could board her for me while I take the train. She's more dog savy than my mom and also stronger. I can't see my mom handling the Dot in the travel kennel or on a leash if she gets silly and excited! And my friend lives just across he bridge from where I'll be. This could work . . .

    I haven't figured out what to do about nycstray though. Prob keep it since that's basically where my whole crew came from, the streets here :)


    You have a friend in the Bay Area (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by Spamlet on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 11:22:01 PM EST
    when you get here. Let me know if you want to exchange contact info.

    I don't understand why Amtrak (none / 0) (#70)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:27:31 AM EST
    doesn't take dogs into cargo.  If they did there is certainly a market for it because people who move dogs around a lot all cringe flying dogs.

    It really sucks. (5.00 / 1) (#130)
    by nycstray on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 01:45:21 PM EST
    I am going to call though and perhaps write to the higher ups. What better way to boost train travel. Perhaps they could at least have some train runs for pets and some pet free? I would easily buy a pass for vacations and stay at cheap motels along the way and use the off train time to explore various places in the US with Dot and my camera.

    Pet AIrways (none / 0) (#91)
    by mollypitcher on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:49:54 AM EST
    I know a dog breeder in Wisconsin who used this method to get pups to the East.  (I have this info carefully saved!)

    The first Pet Airways flight took off July 14 from Teterboro, a small airport outside New York, en route to Washington, Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles.  They now depart from other cities (Atlanta, for example). Flights, costing 149 dollars each way, are on a modified Beechcraft 1900. There will be room for 50 cats and dogs traveling in kennels stacked on custom-made shelves.  There is an attendant.

    Like many flights in these security conscious days, a check-in two hours before take-off is requested. To avoid the queues -- and any potential pre-flight nerves -- check-in can be done 72 hours earlier.  "We'll be happy to board your pet at our PAWS Lodge until the flight," the company's website advertises."


    Amtrak.... (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by athyrio on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 10:24:32 PM EST
    Has been train travel for me ever since 9/11...Just cannot imagine the horror those passengers felt just before they died in those planes...Gave me nightmares...soooooo, I decided that as long as it isn't an emergency, I will take the train or drive...Much more peaceful for me at least...

    The California Zepher (sp?) (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by jharp on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 10:24:47 PM EST
    The California Zepher (sp?)

    I rode the California Zephyr from Chicago to Oakland in either 1968 or 69. Ahhh. Old memories.

    The Hiawatha (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Cream City on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 10:44:43 PM EST
    with the totally glass second story for viewing the trek west through Yellowstone, the Rockies, and more.  Great diner car, too -- and the wonderful porters who ought to have been hired to teach airline stewards about service.  I was only a kid, but I remember the trip to the West Coast well.

    Oh, and across the Mississippi (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Cream City on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 10:46:22 PM EST
    on a train trestle . . . wow.  It's wonderful from the air, too, but it's like looking on a map and misses the churning life amid and along the Big Muddy.

    Yup, I was going to hook up with (none / 0) (#31)
    by nycstray on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 10:28:22 PM EST
    it in Chicago or somewhere in the mid west. Had a couple options. And then just ride until the dog and I needed a break, get off and reboard the next day. {sigh}

    trains (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by jharp on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 10:29:16 PM EST
    I'd love to go by train but it's too costly or I haven't been able to figure out Amtrak's website.

    I'd be grateful for suggestions.

    And I've taken the train from Hong Kong to Ghanzhou, China a few times and it was a wonderful way to travel. Fascinating. And the ferries from Hong Kong to Dongguan and Maccau were also a pleasure.

    Cost varies on Amtrak (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by caseyOR on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 10:34:20 PM EST
    Would you want a sleeperette? or a regular sleeper car? or is a seat in coach okay?

    Those are where the price points are for U.S. train travel. The Amtrak website takes awhile to figure out. I just kept playing with it until it finally made sense.


    I've always dreamed of train-traveling India (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Ellie on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 12:12:00 AM EST
    ... just to sample the regional chaiwallahs and their Milk Tea (AKA Railway Tea), perfectly timed to the insanely complex railway schedule.

    My old house-mate from back in the (college) day got me hooked -- her parents are "connected" -- and she moved back to Mumbai. That's a twofer for me, because I also want to see the legendary tiffin-wallah (or dabbah-wallah) that work Mumbai.


    Portland to Chicago roundtrip (none / 0) (#37)
    by caseyOR on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 10:53:40 PM EST
    Just to check, I just went to the Amtrak website to try to book a roundtrip fare Portland to Chicago. I booked a sleeperette for one adult. With my AAA discount the total cost is $892.00., w/o discount- $922.00.

    Bedroom sleepers cost more, and that is what I would get if 2 adults are traveling together, although it is cheaper to book the family bedroom, which seems to be about the same as the bedroom, only with more pulldown beds.


    The other option is (5.00 / 3) (#39)
    by nycstray on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 11:03:26 PM EST
    to buy a pass where you can get on and off and stay at inexpensive hotels. That's what I was thinking of doing if I could take the dog. Get off a couple times to stay in motels and take in some sightseeing with my camera. There's enough trains crossing paths that you can map it out pretty easy. I would just sleep in the seat on the overnight to Chicago, then grab a motel and spend the day in Chicago, get a good nights sleep and head out. Do another sleep on the train and then another off day good nights sleep at some pretty place etc. Eventually I would arrive in CA, as would the moving truck :)

    Have you looked into (none / 0) (#66)
    by Anne on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:20:30 AM EST
    Pet Airways?

    Don't know if the Dot would meet their size restrictions, but this sounds like a nice way for an animal to travel:

    1. Drop your pet off at our Pet Lounge, located at the airport. You must check in your pet no later than 2 hours before take off.

    2. Potty Breaks are very important to your pet. With the human airlines, your pet could be made to hold themselves for a very very long time. Pet Airways monitors the last time your pet had a potty break, and makes sure that they get regular potty breaks along the way. This means that it may take us longer to get to where we are going, but the care of our pawsengers is our first priority.

    3. Pets board the plane and our Pet Attendants make sure they're all comfortable and that they, and their pet carrier, are secure.

    4. A Pet Attendant monitors and checks the comfort of all pawsengers every 15 minutes during the flight. After landing, pets will be disembarked, given a potty break, and will be available for pickup at the Pet Lounge.

    5. Pick up your pet at the Pet Lounge at your destination, knowing he or she has traveled comfortably and safely in the main cabin of our plane.

    The only California airport they fly to currently is LAX, but you could meet her there and drive the rest of the way...?

    Anyway, just an idea!


    Thanks! (5.00 / 1) (#125)
    by nycstray on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 01:27:08 PM EST
    Yes, I have thought about them. The one thing I like is that even though they have the same early check in, they are cared for by animal people vs cargo people and they would be in their own area.

    My biggest worry is not putting Dot in cargo on the same flight, it's the time away from her once I get to the airport. Who knows what's going on while I'm going through hours of security/possible delays/and dawg forbid it's the flight stuck on the runway for 3hrs . . . I'd need a good lawyer {grin}

    When I flew my pets out years ago, it was drop them at cargo, go check in, wait a few and board the plane. When I got here they wheeled them out before the luggage for me. I did have major problems in SF over the number of pets I had even though I had been one the phone with the airline multiple times in advance, but I would take that hassle today over all this other BS.


    I've flown dogs with this system (none / 0) (#69)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:23:05 AM EST
    flying can be traumatic for some dogs, but they have gone out of their way to make the dogs very comfy and they clean up after sick dogs so that your pet can at least make it home in one piece and their crate isn't a mess.

    Sounds like the mutts... (none / 0) (#71)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:28:42 AM EST
    get treated better than us.  Flying has become traumatic for us too...and I ain't talkin' 'bout terrorism.  

    As nycstray says though (none / 0) (#72)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:47:32 AM EST
    they have to show up at the gate very early and be quarantined, in case we inserted a bomb up their bum or something.  I don't know why I couldn't simply set the bomb off 5 hours later, perhaps there is some digestive rule I don't know about....that bombs inserted after 4 hours and not blown become digested or defunct :)

    Not just that (none / 0) (#74)
    by jbindc on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:59:17 AM EST
    Some of us are very allergic to animals and would not appreciate animals in the passenger area (I've been on flights where little dogs and cats have been stowed underneath seats and several of us were very uncomfortable - evenmore so than just being crowded).

    I sympathize with your plight nycstray - but Anne's idea sounds like a good one.


    I only fly dogs in cargo (none / 0) (#80)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:15:32 AM EST
    I wouldn't expect anyone to put up with a German Shepherd in the aisle even if if my dog is a certified therapy dog.  I'm not disabled.  I have only flown puppies in cargo as well.  Some people are really nuts about their puppies being traumatized and they fly with them in those sherpa bags.  I'm not like that and I do understand about allergies as I unfortunately have some challenging ones too.

    Air Dogs (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by mollypitcher on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:59:18 AM EST
    I have a small (30 lb) cattle dog from Finland which flew twice as a pup. (First time crated with 2 littermates, second in an under-seat crate in a nearly empty plane.)  I made him into a service dog, so technically he could fly in the cabin.  But what about potty breaks?  I don't see how, so I am really interested in Pet Airways.

    It is often a longer day for dogs (none / 0) (#102)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:16:53 AM EST
    flying the system, because they layover at major hubs to be taken care of and pottied.  But I can tell it is less stressful on the dogs, they arrive in a much better frame of mind.

    I wouldn't expect my dog to be able (none / 0) (#127)
    by nycstray on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 01:34:24 PM EST
    to fly in the cabin on a commercial flight. It would also be sheer H*ll for me as she is mostly Dalmatian and a total kid magnet. Oy, the probs that could cause on a plane, lol!~

    My main concern is having to be separated from her when I get to the airport. Once she's on the plane, it will be a non-stop flight and she'll be "ok" in her crate. Not ideal, but doable at least.


    Don't go by website train prices, anyway (none / 0) (#85)
    by DFLer on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:32:33 AM EST
    I go to the station and ask for the best price...and get it. AAA discount is good, as mentioned.

    Before I retired (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 11:49:27 PM EST
    I was flying about 150,000 miles a year and have nearly 3,000,000 actual miles... The vast majority of it inside CONUS with some HI and AK flighhts plus a few Japan and Europe thrown in... Most of those were in FC but even traveling FC after 9/11 became a real drag. I fly about 4 to 6 RT's a year now, only FC 1 time last year... I think even with the new rules I would be able to survive just because I love to travel but I can see how if you didn't then it wouldn't be acceptable.

    I figure another attack and more rules people will finally revolt and force the government into paying attention to those who need to be watched and let us Granddads and Grannies alone.

    Flew three times last year to China (5.00 / 3) (#58)
    by otherlisa on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 01:40:53 AM EST
    And there's really no alternative transportation to get there. I fly United's Economy Plus, and it's pretty cool, honestly.

    That said, I believe I already ranted about my experience with secondary screening flying from SFO to LAX. It was really degrading, and it's only happened to me once. So I'm not in any hurry to fly again, until they get some of this stuff straightened out (I can dream, can't I?).

    In China, I almost always take the train. A whole different set of issues but I totally prefer it to air travel.

    I love trains. One of my biggest disappointments with the Obama Administration -- and this is after having very few positive expectations -- is that the bailout didn't provide more funds for infrastructure. As cynical as I am and as much as I disliked him, I honestly thought he had the sense to put more money into infrastructure. We need a major upgrade of our rail system, both national and local. It totally fries me that I probably won't see that in my lifetime.

    Not a great fan of flying (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by brodie on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:11:31 AM EST
    either, though I usually carefully arrange to have plenty of intriguing or important reading material on hand to avoid looking like Bill Shatner in that old Twilight Zone episode.  

    Would much prefer going by high-speed rail, but last I checked the train trip from SF to LA was some 9-10 hours long.  Ridiculous.  

    A real shame that Ike and Lyndon's Congress couldn't have ordered up a national rail system back in the 50s instead of the nat'l highway system which was intended to move massive numbers of troops in case of emergency caused by the commies.  The emergency instead turned out to be our country's lousy and inefficient transportation system and the limited crummy choices we've had for half a century now.

    Well, it was just fanciful (none / 0) (#111)
    by brodie on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:47:41 AM EST
    What If? thinking on my part, and, while I'm not sure about the repair comparison, I do know that Ike was greatly influenced in the nat'l highway system by a suggestion from one Harvey Firestone and by an an endless and very slow cross country motorcar trip a young officer Ike took decades before becoming president as well as his being impressed yrs later by the German autobahn.  

    That and the fact that majority leader Lyndon was backed massively by TX oil fatcats, and you have your basic one-two punch from powerful interests who were well-positioned to make the highway, and not rail, the only choice on the menu for the two top policy makers in the land.


    hong kong rails (5.00 / 1) (#106)
    by jharp on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:24:53 AM EST
    One last item.

    In Hong Kong the airport is pretty far outside of town and is serviced by train.

    And inside the train station all of the airlines have check in. You dump your bags, after they have been searched, and are issued your boarding pass.

    It is very convenient.  

    Sometime I hope we can discuss the MTR, the Hong Kong subway system. It's as efficient and easy to use as as one can imagine. And clean and reliable.

    I love that town.

    Missed my one chance to try that train (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by Sui Juris on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:34:55 AM EST
    But since it was also my one chance to try out those green cars to that Peninsula place . . .   :)

    (However, I did have a chance to try another train on that trip - the Shanghai Maglev from the airport that dumps you nowhere near where you need to go, but since you just hit 430km/h on a train, you don't really care.)


    Willing to give it up for biz, but not pleasure (5.00 / 2) (#107)
    by Sui Juris on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:31:16 AM EST
    For the most part, it's pretty easy to arrange my work to not require travel.  However, there's something of a loss in that work travel can end up significantly subsidizing your personal travel (tacked on days, FF miles, etc.).

    Personal travel, however, is entirely too precious to me to even consider giving up flying.  Sure, there's lots of good ground travel available in DC (and I frequently take advantage of it), but to get to South Africa, Australia, Pakistan, Argentina (all trips in the past few years), well . . .

    I wish travel could be so accessible to more people.  I think the world would be a different place.

    hilarious (5.00 / 2) (#121)
    by hitchhiker on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 12:41:39 PM EST
    I'm reading this thread in the Denver airport, having gotten up at 4 am in Seattle to catch a 6:15 flight -- eventually I'll get on another plane bound for DC.

    I got the major pat-down at security this am, I think because I'm wearing baggy clothes.  As I write this, a trio of uniformed airport security people are trolling by, looking around at all of us stunned & silent travelers.

    The thing about air travel is how merciless it's become.  Everything that can be a pain in the ass is, and the attitude seems to be, well, suck it up.  Nobody cares if you're uncomfortable sitting in these stupid bench things, and they have to have steel arms between each seat so that people don't go to sleep while they're waiting for their flight.

    Mine is now officially delayed by an hour.  


    So you actually got to sit (none / 0) (#135)
    by Cream City on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 04:03:11 PM EST
    in chairs in the airport?  I've had too many times, with such delays, of having to sit on the (filthy) floors.  Most recently at the LA airport, amid a massive construction zone, and having to do so for hours as the flight kept getting delayed again and again.  And the floors kept getting filthier.

    Here's hoping that you actually got on that plane by now!


    So true! (5.00 / 1) (#133)
    by DancingOpossum on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 03:37:09 PM EST
    Flying used to be fast, easy, and comfortable. I used to love it. Now it's a nightmare. The seats seem to get smaller and smaller by the month -- I'm a short lil' person and I feel completely trapped and squeezed in, it must be sheer hell for tall people. You're rammed in between all these people, and screaming children, and overworked flight attendants who are clearly fed up with the whole thing (and who can blame them?)

    The having to arrive hours early, the long lines at Security, the shoe thing, all of it is just a major hassle. More and more you're also surrounded by people using music devices but the volume is turned up so high to drown out airplane noise that you can hear it as clear as a radio -- I've taken to bringing ear plugs with me, which is just another nuisance. Can't bring water, or perfume, or moisturizer, or lip gloss onboard, so I arrive looking (and feeling) like the Queen of the Undead...ugh...it's all terrible.

    When I fly, I fly Southwest. They have the ability to mitigate the awfulness somewhat, their seats are slightly less cramped and I don't have a problem with their free-for-all boarding system (like it matters at all where you sit, comfortwise! HA), and I like their laid-back attitude.

    Still (5.00 / 2) (#134)
    by DancingOpossum on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 03:38:26 PM EST
    I sympathize with coique's statement. There are many, many places I would love to visit that I can't afford to, and never will. And that makes me deeply sad. I'd put it with all manner of indignity and discomfort to visit these places on my list.

    Since I haven't been able... (none / 0) (#1)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 07:27:04 PM EST
    ...to travel in two years and am dying to do somewhere, anywhere, I'd probably put up with just about anything to get out of Dodge.  

    Especially for something like the Rhine River cruise I'm missing in May.  My Nephew/Godson is getting married in Cabo in April and I pretty much have to go to that come hell or high water.  

    Major condolences on (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 08:50:19 PM EST
    missing the cruise.  The Rhine River and the German countryside around it are absolutely beautiful.  Hope you get another chance to do it sometime.

    I wouldn't mind having to hear bagpipes (none / 0) (#2)
    by Cream City on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 07:28:36 PM EST
    as at the airport in the story that stopped the woman with pipes and made her play 'em, but then, I love baggy music.  I had to laugh ruefully at the next anecdote, though, of the guy who had his luggage searched over and over, while the bottle in his back pocket was missed.  It reminds me of an airport staffer telling me, amid all the confusion of a few years ago about whether to pack or carry lighters or matches or etc. . . the staffer told me to just stick the lighter in my back pocket, and no one even would notice it.  And it was true.

    As for the main question here:  I'm cancelling out of a flight soon.  But I have an international flight some months from now and am not looking forward to it at all.  I have to commit to it in about a month, and I'm waiting and seeing.  But my spouse would be heartbroken if I skipped it, so I'll probably go -- and work hard at not grumbling all the way.  He knows how much I already have learned to hate flying with all these hassles.  And I used to love it and always looked forward to these years when I would be able, at last, to travel.

    Saving my pennies (none / 0) (#3)
    by Spamlet on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 07:42:43 PM EST
    for Amtrak. This push for virtual strip searches is the last straw for me. Not the time to buy airline stocks.

    Give me light rail! (none / 0) (#4)
    by Fabian on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 07:51:28 PM EST
    I may well be retired before Ohio actually gets it.  It wouldn't be the difference between flying and not flying, but driving or not driving.  

    Having flown less than a half dozen times, I wonder why there was ever any mystique or romance about it.  Airports offer more amenities than bus or train stations, but they are hardly comfortable places to spend any time.  Time in the air is not exactly comfortable or exciting.  My Greyhound ride was better than the best flight I ever had.  

    Maybe if I had my own private Lear jet - but it would still be cheaper to have a tour bus.


    Flying used to be some fun (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Cream City on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 08:18:07 PM EST
    and seats had leg room (ah, remember Midwest Express' two-across leather recliner seats, anyone?  they're for sale now, after years in a warehouse).  And stewards provided service, and food and drinks were free -- and the nervous among us also even could medicate with nicotine.  

    And you could get to the airport 20 minutes beforehand . . . and at the other end, you could get off a plane fast and, lo and behold, find your luggage waiting for you, not lost in some other land.

    Now, with the cramped seats and my long legs, I have to medicate to not go nuts with the waiting, waiting, waiting, and to not have my back end up like a pretzel after even an hour's flight.  Of course, an hour's flight now takes almost a day, with having to get there hours beforehand, and with all the delays at both ends, and with the time it takes to report lost luggage. . . .


    I've only ever flown with one carry-on ... (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Ellie on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 08:51:27 PM EST
    ... no matter where I was going or for how long. I'd UPS/FedX my "luggage" ahead of time to my destination accommodation for longer stays abroad, make do with one carry-on for short forays.

    I'm grounded for now. (Wow, it's been years since I said that!)

    I guess I'll go to my room now ...


    Once in my life (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 08:54:09 PM EST
    I got to fly "business class" to the U.K., and if it didn't quite have either mystique or romance, it was pretty darn wonderful.  It's a whole different world in the back of the bus where most of us usually do time.

    Also, before "deregulation," when tickets were much more expensive, there was much more room, usually decent food, better air, etc.


    1st Class British Airways was the best flight evah (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Ellie on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 09:09:32 PM EST
    The service was just shy of offering Colin Firth up for gratuitous sex.

    PLUS, the head steward took a liking to me and loaded me up with a whack of coughComplimentarycough "leftover" flight freebies -- practically anything you can imagine that anyone in his/her right mind MIGHT request on an overseas trip.

    Chocs you say? Champers? Jim-jams? Slippers? Fine Ayurvedic and exquisite toiletries? Mani-pedi kits?


    Dang! (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 11:34:14 PM EST
    Mine was also BA, but I, a normally very nervous flyer, slept almost the entire way once they'd hit us with the first-rate dinner and free champers, so had no opportunitey to, um, make friends with the stewardii.

    The down side was that when we got to London, it turned out they'd inexplicably sent an entire container of luggage off to Lisbon by mistake, and I was left to contemplate attending three days of business meetings in grubby jeans.

    The silver lining to that cloud was, though, that I had planned to do a few days traveling without a car prior to the business stuff and would have had to stash the luggage somewhere else inconvenient for those days. So as it happened, BA took care of my bags for me for three days and then delivered them to my London hotel literally minutes before the opening cocktail party of the business stuff, while I hoofed around the West country happily on foot.


    Sleep masks and warm socks (none / 0) (#18)
    by Cream City on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 09:17:20 PM EST
    courtesy of Qantas, even today.  And refreshments available at all times to keep us hydrated -- and walking for the goodies, to keep down blood clots.

    But even Qantas squeezed the leg room to unbearable, then made worse by a broken seat in front of us . . . and a steward who denied it.

    What Qantas didn't supply was ear plugs.  Nor parents who know how to handle their children.  So even the sleep mask and warm socks -- and even my sound-deadening headphones -- couldn't lull me to sleep with screamers and crawlers both in front and behind us for sixteen, count' em, sixteen hours (and that after sixteen hours just to get to the coast to get on the Qantas flight).

    I got ear plugs for the flight back, youbetcha.  But I dread the next one.  It's like I'm a magnet for bad parents, put in seats near me on most flights.  Add that to drunks when flying back from Cancun, and it's a seventh level of hell.


    I'll call your eye-mask / warm sox and raise you (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by Ellie on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 09:33:44 PM EST
    ... some cheese wheels. My BA-BFF steward laid some righteous uncut brie and camembert wheels on me and, I sh!t thee not, some good English cheddah.

    I know this isn't a p!ssing contest, but I know I'm talking your language when I say: I got the cheese, babeh ... and my cheddah's beddah!

    I want this to be how I go to Heaven. Even if I get turned away at the Gates for pretty much doing all of the seven deadly sins in one trip -- except for the lust due to the unavailability, at the time, of Colin Firth -- WTF, the round trip is worth it and I'll have some fondue for a long enough time not to give a good gawddamn.


    Well, when it comes to cheddar (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Cream City on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 09:57:31 PM EST
    you're messin' with my loyalty to local Colby.  But mmmmm, the English do know how to make that mold grow good.  They make mac and cheese with at least four and sometimes six different cheeses, and it becomes a gourmet dish.

    Oh, and if you got fresh fruit with that brie and camembert, who needs Colin Firth?!


    business class (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by jharp on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 09:19:27 PM EST
    Business class on international flights is dramatically more comfortable. And dramatically more costly.

    Business class is a full lazy boy that you can lay back on a sleep a good long time. Economy is just like domestic economy. And the flight to Asia is 15-16 hours. I've flown economy about 35 out of 40 times, and it's rough.

    And the cost? About $1,300 economy, about $8,000 business, and first class is almost $20,000. No kidding.


    Yup, mine was $7,000 (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 11:37:43 PM EST
    My trip was back in the mid-80s, but I was totally stunned to see the cost of the biz class ticket was 7,000 buckaroonies.  Happily, neither I nor my employer paid for it.  Since it was under the auspices of a U.K. government program, the Queen picked up the tab.  Or maybe it was Mrs. Thatcher...

    Last time I went to the U.K. was about five years ago, $380 rt in steerage on Virgin Airways.


    $129 RT, Newark>Brussels (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Ben Masel on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 11:46:31 PM EST
    Special deal at the end 1985, right after the Abu Nidal org shot up the Rome and Vienna airports. Everyone was canceling, but they still had to send planes.

    I got upgraded once (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by CST on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:54:15 AM EST
    to business class on an international flight.

    I didn't buy the ticket, I just showed up a little late for an overbooked flight.

    It was AWESOME.  And the timing of the flight (west to east) meant I got to see a 7 hour sunset.

    The food was better, the seats were better, the tv was better.  And by better, I mean actually good.  This was before most flights had tv options for coach.  That, and they gave me complimentary champagne, at the age of 16.  I was very impressed :)


    On the ol' Midwest Express (none / 0) (#16)
    by Cream City on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 08:58:56 PM EST
    it really was "the best care in the air," essentially with business class for all.  Even freshly baked chocolate chip cookies for all.  Mmmmmm.  Those did wonders for the air on an airplane!

    Mitchell Fields (Milwaukee) (5.00 / 2) (#47)
    by Ben Masel on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 11:40:32 PM EST
    still has one thing going for it, Rennaisance Books. High end used and antiquarian.

    My last purchase, 1st edition of Tim Leary's High Priest.


    So true. I really miss (none / 0) (#54)
    by Cream City on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 12:01:07 AM EST
    the main store downtown.  Dustier, truer than the airport branch, so spiffy. :-)

    Yeah, light rail is a great way to (none / 0) (#9)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 08:15:39 PM EST
    get to Asia or Europe from here.

    We travel as a family. (none / 0) (#59)
    by Fabian on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 06:16:40 AM EST
    Trips to Europe are not in our foreseeable future.

    I fly primarily for work. nt (none / 0) (#67)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:20:46 AM EST
    How much? Lots, as I love to (none / 0) (#8)
    by oculus on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 08:15:26 PM EST

    Entirely depends on the distance (none / 0) (#15)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 08:57:06 PM EST
    I want/need to go.  If it would take pretty much the same time to drive as to get from door to door using a plane, forget the plane.

    I will fly. (none / 0) (#21)
    by Radiowalla on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 09:25:35 PM EST
    Doesn't mean I will enjoy it...unless I get an upgrade...
    I don't intend to put myself on house arrest.  Life is too short.

    Alternatives means of travel (none / 0) (#22)
    by Spamlet on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 09:30:36 PM EST
    are available for some destinations, so it's not necessarily a choice between the Nazi skies and house arrest.

    In my younger (none / 0) (#24)
    by JamesTX on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 09:42:15 PM EST
    days I was basically an air commuter. I had the timing down. I walked on the planes as they were closing the door. I got up at 7 to catch 8:15 flights.

    When all this started, I missed the first few flights I took after that, including one a potential employer had payed for and was waiting for me on the other end.

    With this, I'm through except for UK. Check out those little rooms on the train. I have a friend who does that all the time. He loves it.

    As I have always said, let revenues fall 20% and the airlines will fix this problem -- guaranteed!

    Train travel is underrated; a low-stress way to go (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Ellie on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 09:59:43 PM EST
    Plan what you need to keep you working or entertained, dress appropriately for the trip, and enjoy.

    I raise your cheese wheels (none / 0) (#27)
    by jharp on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 10:03:59 PM EST
    I raise your cheese wheels with Chateaubriand and iced vodka with caviar that I was seved the one time I flew first class from Hong Kong to San Francisco.

    Cool, which airline? And scr*w Colin Firth ... (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by Ellie on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 11:35:16 PM EST
    ... or NOT, I mean. (Although being able to demand gratuitous sex just to have it ambiently available would be a plus.)

    And are we talking in-flight loungewear here? (Also, re: upstream, overseas business class really is the best bang for the buck if going on one's own dime.)


    which airline (none / 0) (#56)
    by jharp on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 12:26:08 AM EST
    United. About 1993-4. I used miles for a business class ticket. They offered me an upgrade to 1st class if I was willing to be rerouted. Or something like that.

    Ooooh!! (none / 0) (#49)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 11:42:50 PM EST
    So let me add that if you love coffee, go SAS.  For some unknown reason, the Swedes have the coffee thing down perfectly, even on planes and at grubby stands in the metro stations.  Almost worth going just for that.

    I haven't had coffee via the Swedes (none / 0) (#65)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:18:18 AM EST
    but for me, Puerto Rico has the best coffee at any and all locations that I've found so far.

    I flew first class to Korea (none / 0) (#64)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:16:28 AM EST
    with Josh when he was around a year old.  He yakked on me.  I had an extra blouse in my carry on too, and I changed it....but first class smelled like yakk all the way to Korea :)

    jharp, since you seem to travel to Asia (none / 0) (#83)
    by vml68 on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:30:25 AM EST
    often, if you ever get the chance try first class on Emirates Airways. It is horribly expensive but an extremely luxurious way to travel and the stewards are top notch!

    trains (none / 0) (#40)
    by jharp on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 11:04:28 PM EST
    "Would you want a sleeperette? or a regular sleeper car? or is a seat in coach okay?"

    I guess I'm just looking for a good price. I'm a pretty tough traveler. I've sat in a middle seat in coach in front of the exit row, a seat that doesn't recline, for 16 1/2 hours from Chicago to Hong Kong. After nearly missing the flight due to the late arrival of my originating flight. And running with 2 weeks worth of clothing through the terminal to just make it in time.

    I just can't see the value in Amtrak. I'm looking for cheap. The $892 from Portland to Chicago seems really high to me.

    I'm going out to shovel show. Pretty nasty here in Indianapolis. I've got to get things cleared out for the family in the morning.

    Here's a link to the passes (none / 0) (#41)
    by nycstray on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 11:12:13 PM EST
    nycstray (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by jharp on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 12:40:56 AM EST
    Thank you.

    Very interesting. I'll explore it further but surprising how few pickup points in the Midwest. I think Chicago is the only one.

    Anyways, maybe Jeralyn can do a post on train travel.

    And I had a good time shoveling snow. It's about 10 degrees and blowing to beat the band. And yet very peaceful being out alone.


    I'd highly recommend looking into shipping ... (none / 0) (#50)
    by Ellie on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 11:46:21 PM EST
    ... most of your personal effects ahead, except for what you'd need on a bus trip, and doing it that way.

    An Express would be my first logical check, OR, a couple of shorter bus trips with a sleepover at a standby nearby hotel/motel in between if a one-way Express isn't an option.


    I've always gotten the VIP treatment. (none / 0) (#45)
    by Ben Masel on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 11:35:43 PM EST
    from Airport Security, going all the way back to the '70s. I'll train or drive if it's 1.000 miles or less.

    Flew to Netroots Nation in '08, my bag arrived 30 hours late, marked with tape from both TSA and HSA, and my hairbrush missing. Pastor Agnostic, also on my flight from Chicago, same thing. My hairbrush, and Mrs Agnostic's scarf were missing.

    As I connect the dots, when running our reservations through the database some astute Fed noticed there was no entry in the  DNA field in our dossiers.

    Love to travel (none / 0) (#60)
    by Coral on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 07:10:21 AM EST
    I find lack of cheap transportation to and from airport in US is more of a problem than the actual inconvenience of the airport security nonsense.

    I like Boston because there is regular T service to airport. NYC you can also get to JFK by subway (with an extra payment for train).

    In Europe I've found the connections between airport and major city to be better/cheaper than in most US cities.

    Now I'm in western MA. Wish the train to NYC were more regular and took less time. A 3 to 3 1/2 -hour drive becomes a 5-6 hour train ride. It's kind of crazy. With high-speed rail you should be able to get there in about 1 to 1 1/2 hr. And don't get me started about bus service to Boston.

    How do you (none / 0) (#86)
    by CST on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:35:51 AM EST
    take the train from Western, MA?  Would you have to go back to Boston first?

    I know when you are driving, you go west than south, but the train goes south first, and never goes through western ma, so it must take much longer.

    For shorter trips (like Boston to NY) I love the train.  Acela is great but a little pricey and even regular Amtrak is not so bad.  Compared to driving/ the bus sometimes it may take a bit longer (except Acela), but there is no beating the fact that you don't have to deal with traffic or security.  There is tons of space, you can move around, and you can usually buy beer.

    It's not cheap though.  Even for Boston to NY it is almost the same as flying, for last minute trips, sometimes more expensive.

    Going longer distances on the train is just not worth it.  Too expensive, too long, not enough "direct" trains, long layovers, etc...  Trains can cost significantly more than planes and take a lot longer than buses.

    Anything further than D.C. I would fly or take an overnight bus.  These days, despite the hassle, I prefer to fly.  Too many bad associations with 2am Greyhound transfers.

    I kind of like long drives, but I don't have a car these days, so that's not much of an option.


    I have a couple of friends (none / 0) (#92)
    by vml68 on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:52:03 AM EST
    who swear by the NYC-Boston Chinatown buses. $15 one way, you cannot beat that price. But, probably not the way to go if you are travelling for business!

    I used to go to NY (none / 0) (#96)
    by CST on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:01:36 AM EST
    about every other weekend for almost 3 years, and I ALWAYS took the chinatown bus.  Going that often, you really can't beat it for price/convenience.  I especially liked being able to show up whenever, buy a ticket, and be on a bus pretty immediately, since they left every 30 min and you almost always got the next bus.

    But it's one of those things where now that I don't go nearly as much, I kind of feel like I can spoil myself a bit when I do go.  Especially since taking the bus that much takes a mental/physical toll.

    Bolt bus is pretty nice too.  Although for that you gotta pre-plan trips.  They tend to sell out.  But they are cheap ($20 one-way) and frequent, and are significantly nicer than the Chinatown buses in terms of comfort and amenities (not to mention safety).  I just have a hard time getting tickets because I tend to do everything last minute.


    The last time I rode a bus was (none / 0) (#99)
    by vml68 on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:07:23 AM EST
    in '88! I am a fly or drive person. Though these days, I pretty much drive everywhere.

    I did Greyhound.... (none / 0) (#105)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:24:23 AM EST
    from FLA to NY once...rough trip with all the stops, but you always see characters on Greyhound, my kind of people.

    Even had a woman I had struck up a conversation with invite me into the bathroom with her...I woulda went too but she had her kid with her and he was of the age to know what was up...my conscience couldn't handle that so I respectfully declined.


    Always the gentleman, Dog! (5.00 / 2) (#132)
    by DFLer on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 02:56:25 PM EST
    For Joshua's surgeries I usually (none / 0) (#61)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 07:15:18 AM EST
    drive so that I can make both of us more comfy.  My husband usually flies when he is taking him, he has no patience for driving and he is strong enough to carry Joshua all over the place and on and off flights.  This won't affect me much, but it will probably affect him.  I also love to take in the country while driving, I enjoy driving.

    no flights in 2010 (none / 0) (#62)
    by warrenedson on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 07:25:06 AM EST
    That's going to be a long drive to Key West for you and the Kid next year.

    Poked around.... (none / 0) (#63)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:13:20 AM EST
    about getting to Guadalajara by train or bus...looks seriously arduous.  I don't think I have a choice but fly...maybe train it to the border and rent a car.

    Or pull a Balloon Boy...but for real:)

    We might need to see some riots in airports before we return to the realm of the sane...as long as people put up with the nonsense it will continue, and worsen.

    Or more entertainment in airports (none / 0) (#73)
    by Cream City on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:48:33 AM EST
    during long waits may be on the way.  Did you see the news video (may be on youtube by now) of the hundreds of folks all singing and swaying and clapping to "Give Peace a Chance," when some guy got out his guitar?  It was a hoot.

    That sounds like making lemonade... (none / 0) (#75)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:01:06 AM EST
    out of lemons!  Surprised the guitar-player wasn't detained for pulling a stunt like that though....leading a peaceful sing-along...doesn't he know we are at war!...:)

    JFK would have to book The Rolling Stones to provide enough entertainment to offset the hassles for this knucklehead...or at least put in a god damn smoking lounge, preferably a green one.


    Agreed on all (none / 0) (#78)
    by Cream City on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:14:56 AM EST
    you suggest here.  But we're pariahs now -- the Puritans won the country, after all.

    I always say... (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:31:07 AM EST
    Australia got the better end of England's rejects:)

    Unfortunately (none / 0) (#79)
    by DancingOpossum on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:15:08 AM EST
    I have to fly later this month, to visit family in Denver. In the past I've used Amtrak (Baltimore to Chicago to Denver, whee!) but because of the time involved I can't this time. Going by train adds two additional days of travel and currently in my job I can't take that much time off (and that's a whole 'nother story). Really wish I could, as I hate to fly.

    Trains are just plain awesome, so are train stations, and I wish for once we could get a WH administration that sees this.

    For those taking long train trips, I STRONGLY recommend spending the extra dough for a sleeperette. The first time I did the Balto-Denver trip I had to do the first leg (Balto-Chicago) in coach and it was really, really uncomfortable after a while. I found it impossible to sleep and fairly hellish, and I say this as someone who can sit for hours reading quite happily. When I was able to get a sleeperette for the second leg it was like I had died and gone to heaven.

    Also... (none / 0) (#81)
    by DancingOpossum on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:17:04 AM EST
    Must add, the sleeperette price includes meals in the dining car or in your room -- take them in the dining car, it's great--they seat you with other people, and I've met so many interesting people that way.

    Business Travel (none / 0) (#89)
    by PatHat on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:44:08 AM EST
    I travel a lot for business. I used to fly from Syracuse to Newark or Philadelphia, but have expanded my driving range to 4-5 hours. I also rarely take a connecting flight. I will fly to a city then drive up to 3 hours from there rather than chance a connection.

    Traveling stinks.

    I have pretty much avoided flying (none / 0) (#97)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:05:12 AM EST
    for a few years.  I have renewed my love affair with trains.

    I really wish I could stop flying. (none / 0) (#109)
    by Chuck0 on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:35:23 AM EST
    But alas, I have to make regular trips to Texas from PA. It's a two and half day drive or a three and half hour flight. WE NEED HIGH SPEED RAIL.

    We sure do! (none / 0) (#110)
    by DancingOpossum on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:38:17 AM EST
    I've been on high-speed rail in Europe and Japan and man, what a thrill. I would never get on a plane (and forget cars, I don't do long car trips) if we had rail like that here.

    For several years now (none / 0) (#114)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 11:50:16 AM EST
    we only fly if the drive is longer than, say, 5 hours. That seems to be about the time frame where it takes less time to drive than to fly. And you don't have to deal with the airports, car rental, etc.

    I can't afford to fly, myself. (none / 0) (#119)
    by coigue on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 12:21:14 PM EST
    But I would if I had the cash and the distance made it worth it.

    Unless you can afford Business/First Class (none / 0) (#131)
    by AX10 on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 02:26:35 PM EST
    the flight itself is quite uncomfortable.

    Add in the time needed before the flight for security and everything else, flying is not worth it unless it is absolutely needed.
    America is rolling towards Britain's level paranoia.

    Thread cleaned of off-topic comments (none / 0) (#136)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 01:25:52 PM EST
    This thread is about personal flying habits. I've cleaned it and am closing it now. Please stay on topic.