I detest business travel. There simply is no upside to it. In addition to the hassles, delays and indifferent service, there’s also the reality of substantially increased security.
With the latter, there’s a very fine line that exists between safety and sheer stupidity. Two recent cases in point illustrate the conundrum:
The first was recounted in a recent Joe Sharkey/New York Times column. It detailed a horrific story concerning a young mom and child traveling on a Continental Express flight. According to Sharkey, the traveler’s baby kept gurgling, ‘Bye-bye plane’ over and over as it taxied to the runway. This admonition upset the flight attendant so much that she insisted the mother ‘…..shut the kid up’ and feed it ‘…..Benadryl to knock it out.’ The mother refused, so the flight attendant told the captain she’d been threatened by the mom. Bye-bye mom. She and the kid were tossed off the plane.
Now, fast forward to a recent Cody family event. My younger brother, John, was traveling with his wife and three young children (one of whom is still in diapers). As they walked through security, the entire group was pulled aside and patted down. And, get this, the TSA agent insisted the baby’s diaper be removed for inspection!
There’s smart security and then there’s sheer stupidity. In my book, the Continental flight attendant and the TSA agent both qualify for my sheer stupidity award of the week.
One would hope someone who understands image and reputation at Continental and TSA would pay closer attention to these increasingly absurd actions and plan an intervention. Otherwise, one day soon, we’ll be seeing ultimate fighting matches in airports and planes and not on pay-per-view.
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cap- while its great to hope for that, it just won’t happen for one very simple reason, namely that the airlines have no reason or incentive to do so. think about it, no one gets up in the morning and says “hey, i think i am going to fly to miami and back today for fun” we fly b/c we have to for business or vacation. and since the airlines know this, they generally only have to worry about being the lowest price on priceline or the like to get your business. as much as we would like to threaten them with taking our business elsewhere, they know as well as you do that the next guy aint any better…
I hear horror stories from my colleagues all the time about traveling for business. They (we) actually laugh it off as part of the cost of doing business, but the real question is when are airlines and the TSA going to start paying attention? Airline travel has become a chronic punchline to a sick joke. I agree that when we’re stuck on planes we need to compose ourselves. But when we get off, we really need to speak up and start making the airlines realize that if they’re going to charge us for their services, they better start doing a better job at delivering. You’ve talked a lot lately, Steve, about accountability. Airlines must start becoming more accountable to us, their clients.
rep- i actually agree with you on this with one small comment. i too was travelling with the youngins this and they were inspecting my one-year old and his stroller. so i was telling this story to a family friend who is a higher-up in the TSA and he told me why they do so. Apparently, there were numerous “threats” that osama and co. were trying to get bombs on planes on babies, pregnant mothers and in wheelchairs. sick thing to hear but at least i understand why they are checking.