Any conversation with people who have traveled by air for at least one score years usually begins with, “Air travel isn’t what it use to be”. Those in the know sigh recalling pre 9/11 days when a security check meant looking at a boarding pass, and maybe a passport, sitting in a comfortable seat while wiping one’s hand on a warm towel in anticipation of a nice drink and a decent meal.
Today air travel is a chore best avoided. Last week a friend of mine dropped off her son at Berkley University in California. The flight out presented only what has become commonplace hassles. The flight home provided passengers on route from Los Angeles to Philadelphia with modern day torture.
The flight had a stop over in Phoenix, Arizona. Shortly after the plane landed, Air Force One and Two landed. No planes could depart nor land until the presidential party was off the tarmac. As a result, the layover extended to two additional hours. Then, after flying a couple of thousand miles, the plane was turned back from the Philadelphia airport due to bad weather. With no fuel to spare, the plane turned south to land at Dulles airport in Washington DC. After refueling, the plane returned to Philadelphia where it, at last, landed. The five hour flight took nearly ten, landing in Philly at 3:30 a.m.
My friend did have a bit of luck. Two mutual friends happened to be on the same flight. So, instead of having to look for a cab at that hour of the morning, they drove my friend home.
This is the first time that mother and son have been separated by a continent. Exciting for the son; nerve wracking for the mother. Not only the distance, but racial tainted rallies are scheduled to occur on the Berkley Campus this week. My friend left her 6’4” Greek/Dutch descendent son at an engineering school teaming with Asian students. She pleaded with her son not to go near any neo-Nazi/ATFA rallies. Her son told his mother not to worry as he was at Berkley to study. Yay, for the study; fat chance for the, “don’t worry”.