Flying has become a pain in my 60s! 137



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Let me say right up front, I have always loved flying. Whereas my mother is terrified by the simple idea of it, I have revelled in the experience since my earliest days. However my attitude has changed somewhat and I am not sure if it is me that changed, or the experience itself.

Like most people who love to travel to new and exciting places, I love the planning and fantasising about the trip to come. I love getting up early and catching the shuttle. I even get a kick out of security and hanging out in the airport. Layovers are just mini-vacations in a new city. Airport food sucks, and it is too expensive, but I still enjoy eating in an airport (there are exceptions…Gatwick). But somewhere along the line, the actual flying part has become less enjoyable. It could be that I am just getting old and sitting for hours is more of a chore than it used to be. It could also be that flying itself has become a pain.

I will admit that there is a huge chasm between the US domestic flight experience and the typical international experience. Even the US airlines manage to create a more enjoyable flight when it involves taking off in one country and landing in another. That said, let’s focus on domestic travel…and since most people will never fly first class, let’s talk about the dreaded “economy” class.

Let’s start off by calling a spade a spade…this is second class travel. No more pillows. No more blankets. The same mediocre food (I am being kind here) that used to be free, now costs you extra – no cash, credit cards only please. Many airlines are now selling leg room. This is nothing more than an admission that the standard second class seat is only suitable for kids and those adults never selected for the basketball team in PE class. Less room for carry-ons. This happened because flyers are trying to avoid a separate budget line-item for checked bag fees. The fix? Simple: fees for carry-on bags of course. First, they incentivise us to use carry-on instead of checked bags. Then they incentivise us to leave stuff at home. What they are really doing is incentivising us to take the train. That is quite a business model.

Where are the movies? I am of the opinion that some movies are only 90 minutes long because that allows them to fit in a two hour flight. When was the last time you had a two hour, domestic, economy seat that included a movie? If you can’t make us comfortable, at least distract us.

Okay so my rant is done and I am still as willing as ever to climb on a plane. Why the hell is that? Because it is not flying I enjoy, it is traveling. Because the moment I step off that flight in India, or Chile, or Nepal, the bad memories of the flight seem to fade away. The airlines are obviously pumping some type of drug into the A/C system that dampens our short term memory and allows me to conveniently forget the crick in my neck, the bad food, and the cramps in my legs. Could they possibly increase the dosage so I can forget the flight entirely? Where is that comment card?

Thanks to Nathan for sending this through.

Do you enjoy flying or is it a pain in your 60s? Tell us below!

Guest Contributor

  1. I totally dislike the whole experience now! I also have been flying since childhood, and remember friends and rellies could come right out on the Tarmac to see you off! Later, swarms of friends would at least come out to the airport to party you off in style! Loads of legroom, accommodating cabin staff, and good food! Distant memories. If only it was possible to go by sea, or a decent train, the joy of travel might return.

    1 REPLY
  2. We are flying to Darwin tomorrow , don’t love it, but the cheap flights are great . You can’t expect food, entertainment etc and cheap flights.

  3. The last time I flew a multi-hour trip (Coolangatta – Melbourne) a movie was completely unnecessary. It would have been some boring effort with gratuitous violence, anyway, which didn’t compare with what I could see out the window.
    Before that (Melbourne – Coolangatta) it was the flipside of heavy cloud cover most of the way. The patterns in the upper side of the clouds was very attractive to see, nothing like the plain grey-white at ground level.
    Upon approach to Coolangatta, there was one of the most magnificent sunsets I’ve seen.
    Again – Who needed a movie?

    4 REPLY
    • I agree. It seems people are just too easily bored these days and why would you want to watch a movie on a measily 2 hour journey.

    • I love window seats. I was flying west-> East…on the red eye. Just before dawn saw scattered lights below, lightening sky with stars still shining…. Moon setting behind & sun just rising in the eastern sky. Magic!!

    • Also – guessing the whereabouts of the plane, from landmarks below. That’s possible, even on a night flight, by relying on town/city lights.
      Launceston was very easy to pick.

  4. I hate flying, especially international flights. Don’t expect to be entertained on a domestic flight of two hours or even three, but on a flight to Perth it would be nice for some people to be able to enjoy a film. Personally, I never watch them. Prefer to read and sleep.

  5. Must look up the word ‘inventivise’. New one to me. However, I understand your feelings. I took the red eye trip from Perth to Brisbane some time ago. I used Virgin and I wasn’t even offered a drink of water! We had to have our own. On the trip back to Perth, I went with QANTAS, same fare, but with food, pillows and all the fluid I needed. Also, I was able to watch a movie. On a five hour flight like this Virgin needs to improve their service.

  6. We hate flying now it’s way to uncomfortable and some times the staff treat you like you are a nuisance to them and u think using a credit card for a coffee is disgusting we haven’t flown since we came back from America we where booked on Qantas put us on jet star an absolute night mare oh my god we have never been treated so bad my husband will never fly again and no refund for the difference. So we drive in Aussie now no more over seas trips my kids have just came home from America and said never ever again meals where so bad couldn’t eat them had to pay for drinks and coffee annoyed they ask for credit card every time. They have to go back to treating us like we are human not cattle on a truck.

  7. I think Virgin now offer food free on their flights.

    2 REPLY
    • Wrong, but their sandwiches for $8 or 9 are good. Not the usually crap airline stuff. I’d rather pay for something that is eatable than get rubbish for free

    • They do. I have travelled Virgin Sydney/Perth and back in the last year or so and we were given complementary meals and free drinks (except alcohol) and full entertainment on a screen at the back of the seat in front. Leaving Perth we sat in thick fog for 2 hours and had access to movies etc and they brought water around while waiting for takeoff. Virgin have been great to travel with.

  8. Couldn’t be bothered with a movie on a 2 hour flight – just take a Kindle and read. Or play games on your mobile! I enjoy flying and don’t need distractions for such a short haul flight.

  9. I have travelled a lot in my life – lots of flights, lot of inter-continental flights. Now in my 60íes, I find that airline travel has become such a chore, that I travel less and less. I avoid domestic flights and only fly, when I have to go overseas.

  10. After my experience with Eitihad Airines I will avoid them at all costs. And the main reason is the seat and seating seems a lot more sqeezy than other airlines. We flew back from the UK on Virgin and had lots more room so that made up my mind for International. But domestic thats another story as we live in regional NSW we have to walk to the plane rain hail or shine – climb rickety steps t get in and out. Whnn it lands in Sydney have to walk dam miles up steps (Im slightly disabled) more walking to get through the terminal…

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