It comes as no surprise that air travel is just not fun anymore. And I bet there are a couple of generations who don't remember when it ever was. Yes, all the security measures are definitely needed, though I seriously think we have the technology to eliminate the shoe-removal requirement, and I appreciate the problem of skyrocketing (no pun . . . ) fuel costs, and yeah, people like to fly cheap. But, speaking as a frequent flyer, we're about to hit a wall here.
So, I'm starting my own airline called MaryAir. A few of the amenities are:
- Free checked luggage - up to two relatively normal-size bags.
- Bags arrive in good condition with the flight on which you traveled and are ready for pick-up at baggage carousel within 15 minutes of your arrival. (OK, I may be dreaming here.)
- One free carry-on. One. Overhead bins can be used for the following: 1) the "stuff" of parents with small children (but do you really have to travel by air with that small child?), and/or 2) luggage of people who have to make a speedy exit for a connecting flight. For all the rest of you, check your bags or pay a big overhead bin fee.
- Standard, though roomier, aisle and window seats.
- Middle seats that are 6-10" wider than aisle and window seats, plus they have built-in heat massagers (people will be fighting for the middle seat on MaryAir).
- Tray tables sturdy enough to hold a laptop computer.
- No reclining seats. The seats on MaryAir are so comfortable, you don't need to take up the space of the folks behind you by reclining.
- Double arm-rests so that you don't have to play Elbow Gocha! with the person next to you.
- Free earplugs and/or headphones for everyone. Shhhhhhhh. Let's keep it quiet.
- Free bottles of water as you board the plane. That should keep you happy until some other beverage or edible offering comes your way.
- Zippy exits. First off: you people with connecting flights, who'll be seated in an area that facilitates your exit (and we know who you are, so those of you without connecting flight, don't try to pull anything) - grab your bags, quickly and GO. Second, the rest of us with one measly carry-on. Third, people with stuff in overhead bins.
- No nickel-and-diming you to death. One flat rate for your flight. Exceptions: over-sized, anvil-totin' checked luggage and overhead bin use (one bag) for folks not making a connecting flight.
But the major carriers should stop this silly business of charging just to breathe. We get that fuel costs are up. We get that we have new security issues. But life is stressful and complicated enough without all this extra junk.
Let's make flying fun again. Welcome aboard MaryAir!