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Sept. 11 changed everything ... about air travel

Five-year-old Frank Allocco is 37,000 feet above America, face pressed against the window. "Cool," he says to his 6-year-old sister. "Francesca, look." It's their first flight. They ignore a Harry . . . ( More...

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Purdue13 0
How many times are articles going to be reposted on here within hours of eachother?
conmanflyer 0
i read an interesting article the other day- and im completely for the baggage fees and other such fees- makes flights cheaper for everyone else instead of forcing you to buy the space in the hold if your not gonna use it
Daniel Baker 0
@Purdue13 -- we are working on new technology to combine articles so that duplicates go away. Additionally, we'll try to detect dupes upon posting, too. In general, you can up vote or comment on any duplicate and we'll resolve it later.
Chris Bryant 0
I love the last comment in the article. It really hit the nail on the head.
mikeap 0
If anyone needs to be blown up, it's Diane Dragg. People like her make my WAY more angry than do terrorists.
It's not just paranoia from September 11. Air travel is cheaper than it has ever been, and this has attracted a large cross-section of sociey that is way less behaved than the relatively well-to-do, well educated travelers that used to be the only ones flying. Not only that, but constant cost cutting has made air travel much more of an ordeal than it once was. I love to fly, but I hate to travel by air ... if you know what I mean.
pfp217 0
add to Anthony's that fuel costs are up adding to the problem.
Dave Purscell 0
No offense intended to the TSA employees, but airport security is a sham. Until we face reality and start behavioral profiling, it is mostly a waste of time intended purely to give the flying public the impression that they are safe.

People need to be realistic. If you want the quality experience, you need to be willing to pay for it. It isn't free to produce. I don't travel commercially as frequently as I used to, but I have found that, by and large, if you treat the employees well, they tend to do the same.

Currently we evaluate all trips with a cost comparison of flying to driving (including the value of our time). We don't live in a hub city, so the breakeven is currently roughly 5 hours. Anything less than 5 hours of drive time and we plan to drive.

Fortunately we also have the alternative of GA (General Aviation). We get to leave when we want and go where we want -- and the only people on the plane are people that I know personally. Can't get much safer than that.
Robert Curley 0
They forgot to mention when you check your bag. A TSA maggot will rifle through your suitcase and steal anything more valuable than a toothbrush.
Tony Welch 0
america needs to stop being to caught up on not hurting peoples feelings. best put by ron white, you cant frisk and search 10 old women just to make the mid-eastern guy happpy. frisk him and if he gets angry say sorry. but again, who can you trust today..
alex schwan 0
flying private FTW!:)
PVUpilot 0
Hey, I posted this last night! Im pretty sure I was the original poster too...
indy2001 0
As tragic as they were, the events on 9/11 did not create the airline situation that we have today -- they only affected the security component of that situation. All of the other aspects of airline travel started their decline in 1978, with the Airline Deregulation Act. Once the airlines were free to set their own fares, they started to undercut each other, leading to the fare wars that continue to this day. With ever-decreasing income, the airlines have continually looked for ways to cut costs. In 1981, People Express was the forerunner of today's no-frills airlines. Thanks to PEx, the other airlines saw that passengers would tolerate reduced service in exchange for low fares. Even the newest aircraft manufacturer of that era took on the name Air"bus", indicating the new attitude toward airline travel. The Big 3 U.S. legacy airlines that have survived ... American, Delta, United ... bear little resemblance to their pre-1978 selves. They are virtual carbon copies of each other, with little to distinguish one from another other than paint schemes and hub airports. And most of their international counterparts are just as bad, if not worse. Only the newest airlines can withstand comparisons to the golden age of commercial aviation.

And yet, things are not nearly as bad as the article's author would have us believe. I particularly disagree with the rash generalization that "we feel beaten down even before reaching our seats". Don't speak for others, Mr. Mayerowitz, without checking first. The ability to fly long distances safely, reliably, and for a reasonable amount is not something to take lightly. Many people who have been able to travel would not have had that opportunity if air fares were still set by the government. The fact that airlines now charge fees for some things that once were free does not diminish that fact.

Children are still exhilarated by their first flights, as are many adults. Much of traveling is the mind set you establish. If you are going to look for things to complain about, you will certainly find them. On the other hand, if you look at commercial aviation as the wonder that it is, you can actually enjoy the experience once in a while.

For our part, my wife and I are very much looking forward to our trip to the UK on American Airlines in a couple of weeks. Yes, we've upgraded to business class, which certainly helps. But we would never have been able to do so if airline travel was the same as the "golden era". We would have had to scrimp and save for a couple of years to afford Economy tickets if the government still set fares today, and a premium cabin would be out of the question.

Do I miss the old days? Certainly. Would I want to return to the system that created them? Never!
Dave Purscell 0
Nicely said, indy2001.

Prices before deregulation were based on a "guaranteed return". You couldn't increase profit margin (%) so if you wanted additional profit ($) you just had to increase your costs. Actually the costs tended to increase themselves, but you weren't exactly fighting to keep them down. Pilots want more pay...oh darn...more money in my pocket. So what if nobody but the rich could fly. :)

Deregulation brought a completely new market to flying. Gone were the days when you wore a suit jacket and tie. Now it is Hawaiian flowery shirt and...well...

There have been some great upstart carriers over the years. Some still exist. SWA usually gives you a fun experience with a good fare. Same with jetBlue (they invented headrest TV and leather seats throughout the plane). Granted some people complain if the weather goes south and they can't takeoff, can't go back to the gate, and TSA won't let them take a bus out to the tarmac to rescue the passengers. Frankly, I'm sure the crew didn't want to get stuck on that plane either.

Regardless of industry, I have noticed that people who pay the least tend to expect (or demand) the most.
I miss the "good old days" of rather frequent flying across the Atlantic. Good food, good drinks, relatively good legroom in 3rd class coach, and especially GOOD PRICES of roughly $ 200 to $ 400 for a roundtrip. Even the customs officers were friendly back then...
The night before 9/11 I got stuck at Logan Airport on my way home to Charleston, SC. Acceptable weather invited me to go outside for a walk, BUT: The lady at the gate did not understand English nor the several other European languages that I tried to communicate with her. Okay - I was forced to wait inside until the connecting flight finally departed, and I arrived in Chucktown after midnight on this fateful morning. You bet my phone rang off the hook after these horrible events.
We all know what happened, that these bad guys were able to board the planes. Now here is my question, which nobody has been able yet to answer:
When somebody works as a controller in England, she/he MUST speak English. Similarly: In Italy they MUST understand Italian, in France the MUST be able to communicate in French, oui oui. Why is it here that apparently not only this lady in Boston did not understand my broad Southern accent adn did not speak English? I am sure this is also a factor that these murderers were able to board their planes and to use them as their weapons.
Yessiree - since then we are being treated like criminals, and paying customers must take their shoes off etc. Thanks heaven I wear sandals and drink a beer before I board a plastic fantastic airplane. - Dave, I love your last remark!
Shorkeytyler 0
maybe if we pulled our troops out of the middle east 9/11 might have never have happend also i think 9/11 was provoct by bush.
Dave Purscell 0
One would be pretty naive to blame that one on Bush (and I have no particular love for the guy). There is about 3,500 years of history in that conflict and we’ve only been a nation for a bit over 235. Over the past hundred years that have been plenty of mistakes made by a lot of different countries. But none of that justifies the actions of 9/11. The terrorists murdered 2,996 people – most of them absolutely innocent. They were trying for 50,000.
Pilot78 0
"the romance of flying is long gone", perhaps but personally I love to fly anywhere commercially or otherwise
and everytime I do, I am thrilled to go to the airport despite all these things we have to face now.
Scott Campbell 0
amen Pilot78, me too.

Fly High brother.....
Lisa Derrick 0
It's true the the glory days of aviation are over. And it is true that I have had tears brought to my eyes watching children be frisked for the third time trying to leave Heathrow days after the Christmas bomber attempted his dastardly deed. That seemed such a far cry from the days when I was four and showed up at the airport in a starched dress, and frilly white socks and MaryJanes and a straw hat. And it is true that my family adores private flying. As my daughter says, "It's better because you don't have to go through security, you don't have to worry about who is sitting next to you, you can bring all the liquids you want, and you can use your ipod whenever you want." But despite it all, I still very much appreciate being able to board a commercial airliner and arrive at a far-off destination safely and efficiently. The rest is incidental.
Jason Feldman 0
145k a year huh? - anyone here really believe that? Here is a question - when was the last time american hired? How about United? Continental and Delta hired a tiny bit. So that number is based on those at LEGACY carriers for ten years, meaning they were senior already when 911 happened since the Junior guys are still waiting for a call back to work. 145 a year - thats just plain stupid.

I have 21 years experience and make 66k - most of my friends either make about the same or are asking me to walk their resume in.
Jason Feldman 0
How much does the average pilot with 10 years of experience pay again? Did I read that right? 145k? where exactly did they get those numbers because thats a bunch of BS. I have 21 years experience - Been through furlough and closed airlines - bump and flush - and I am LUCKY to be making 66k right now. Sure, if you count only the guys that work for a legacy carrier that are working - but what about legacy pilots who are out on the street - did they count them at 0 for income to get that number? I highly doubt that. I would reckon the average pilot pay across the job market, regional all the way up to legacy captain would be 40-50k which is why there will be a pilot shortage because that income is terrible, especially when you will be away from home for... well, at my airline up to 11 days in a row!
alistairm 0
9 months after 9/11, i went down to NY and went through JFK going to Japan, did the same coming back. I really did not feel a difference in the level of security. I may have had more eyes on me, but that was it. Anybody ever wonder if the politicians instill fear into everyone so that companies in their states get contracts for building such things as body scanners? I have wondered that and don't think it is far from the truth. I don't think the danger level is any greater then it was before 9/11. It's only the media and the politicians who make it sound like we are in grave danger. The media reports on security in airports more often these days, because of 9/11. This does not mean that we were not in any greater danger beforehand. I remember when i was walking through Schipol when i was about 13 years old - that is is 23 years ago!! - and i had a drawing board that my grandfather had made for me. it was wrapped up in brown paper and really did not look like anyhting threatening. Well, some people thought otherwise. I had a police officer clad in bullet proof vest, grenades and a sub machine-gun come running after me, shouting at me in Dutch! Trust me, i froze in my foot steps! So, form this experience, they were certainly concerned about something and this was wayyyyyyyyy before 9/11. Another instance occured in San Fran when i was about 5 years old. My parents had bought me a toy gun in China town and it was painted in bright colors in an Oriental motive and when you pulled the trigger, you saw sparks inside. Well, they would not let me on the airplane with it. They confiscated it from me and broke it apart and threw it in the garbage. Again, this is wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy before 9/11. Another instance is when i was going off to London once and the aircraft would not budge until they found the person who was supposed to be on board, but was not... though his bag was. I think that is pretty normal, but it goes to show you that vigilence has always been there, even if it meant scaring the crap out of a 13 year old kid! Anyhow, i really am not sure why 9/11 would have changed air travel all that much. I think it is all due to how people are these days and just how airlines operate in general. I just like to fly and i love airplanes:)
pnschi 0
Passengers haven't "lost" civility as much as they've had it beaten out of them. I flew a lot in the summer of 2001, and the stupidity, laziness, and even occasional pointless spite exhibited by many airline crew already were already causing lots of aggravation among passengers. 9/11 is now an excuse for airlines to get away with treating passengers even worse in the name of national security.
Thomas Gorton 0
Flying today is so vastly different from when I stepped onto a Convair 440 in 1960, the first time I flew. Today's experience going through security can be both an inconvenience and an indignity. When I think that I am quick to realize who to blame. Bin Laden. He created the oft times bumbling TSA. Past security, I began to feel an excitement build as if I was a 5 year old on the way to the circus. I know that I am about to be the beneficiary of so many good things. I think about how far aviation has come in a little over 100 years and how amazingly safe it is. As we do our take off roll I marvel at the awesome power of perhaps the most dependable piece of engineering man ever created, the wonderful and taken for granted jet engine. I listen to its' smooth and beautiful music as it produces unimaginable amounts of thrust. Once at cruise altitude those engines will lull me to sleep like a baby in the cradle of its' mother's arms. I'm flying! I have no worries other than if I will snore and disturb others. Fifty years ago my father taught me that the man or woman in the cockpit were the best professionals and took enormous pride in delivering safety to the folks sitting behind them. Pilots provide me with total piece of mind. No worries, I'm in the best hands and I never forget that. They heighten my relaxation. When I look out the window and see the swept wing I see grace and beauty in the design. A kind of artwork. It's why I have a framed photograph of a 747 wing on the wall of my den. The sum of all these elements gives me a natural high each and every time I fly. I'm the recipient of so much that's good. The magic is still there for me and always will be. I think of the positives of flying and put away the negatives. I'm in a jetliner. What could be better.

In three weeks I board an American Airlines triple seven and head for Chicago from Beijing, then Miami. I'm the 5 year old headed for the circus again. Thanks to all those that make it a safe and pleasurable experience for me. Now if only that economy seat was a tad more comfortable......
James Heath 0
I'd be interested to know where they got that "average salary" figure. Any pilot with 10 years of part 121 experience is (assuming no furloughs) either a senior regional captain or a junior major FO, neither of which jobs even come close to 145K on average. It's really frustrating to pilots who are working for wages less than that of a fast food restaurant employee to keep reading false figures like this. They're everywhere.
Jason Feldman 0
James - I totally agree. Maybe they decided to average the 747 captain income at a legacy carrier LOL. Gotta get more people to become pilots due to impending shortage - that way they can continue to keep wages low due to oversupply. These articles are at the very least irresponsible if not downright lies!
sounddoc 0
145k? WTF LOL!
ken young 0
I used to fly all my longer trips. Now, with the increases in fares, smaller aircraft, steep baggage fees and the general feeling of being considered a suspect by TSA( a bunch of uneducated large ego pricks)has me behind the wheel. I figure my cost of gas, the freedom to take with me what I need. I play a lot of golf and pack kind of heavy. So at the minimum I am paying $100 in baggage fees. Plus after two incidents where my bag was damaged and another time the baggage handlers stole of all things, a few dollars in Canadian coins from my checked bag.
I drive now. I relax, see the sights, etc.
jbermo 0
It's the population boom that degrades living standards . . . non the less - travel by air sure beats walking!
Jason Feldman 0
Ibermo - thats idiotic. Its like saying Ferrari's are worse cars because the population growth. First of all air travel is a privilege - and if some people cant afford it - so be it. I think it would be kinda cool personally if those pax who come to fly in pajamas and flip flops stay home - airlines charged fares that kept them profitable- meals were served and we weren't treating our pax like they are on a toll road. Give them a price, and let them fly. I hate flying. When Im done working the last thing I want to do is fly anywhere. It sucks!
William Jensen 0
I love flying personally. I do think, however, that the "class" of people has dropped dramatically. In the 1970's & 80's, you rarely if ever saw people in flip-flops, shorts, and ratty t-shirts on commercial flights. Today, they're almost the rule rather than the exception.
As for someone's comments re: baggage fees - please! The short-sightedness of the airlines has now caused every idiot to drag "carry on" luggage on board. Probably 75% of the "carry on" I've seen in the past five years would never fit into the little box at the gate that's supposed to define carry on size/shape. I carry on most of the time due to the length of most trips, but I have procured luggage that was built specifically to fit that.
And, don't even get me started on the morons in the TSA who are supposedly providing "security." Most of them are clueless about human psychology and only want to lord their authority over the traveling public. If you really want to make traveling safer, use the profiling techniques of El Al.
John Hopkins 0
A couple of years ago I flew to Des Moines from Manchester UK. At the first port of call in the USA (Philladelphia) we had, of course endure your immigration formalities after which we proceeded to check in for our ongoing flight to Chigago. As we were now located on the wrong side of security (land side) the TSA person vetting the hand luggage confiscated two bottles of Jamesons whiskey due to the restriction on liquids allowed on to a a plane, in spite of the bottles being in a duty free bag and a receipt for their puchase timed approxinately 9 hours before being produced. No problem I thought...give me a receipt and I'll collect them on the way'we'll be disposing of these immediately'...I bet! What is worse though is that the lady concerned advised us that we should have placed the bottles in our hold luggage while we (briefly) had pssession of it. What is better...two bottles of whisky openly carried with authenticated documentation as to their origin and nature, or to have two bottles of unknown source in the hold of the plane? Security ??
ken young 0
TSA is out of control. The agents seem to make up their rules as they please.
To John Hopkins:
Similar (and worse) stuff happened to me . . . often enough. Just see my comment above. I am not allowed to go into details further.
To Anthony Atkielski:
Cheaper? Really??? My boarding passes of the past tell me differently.
To Ken Young:
Even my son, a commercial pilot for a BIG carrier, has to take off his uniform hat and shoes when he wants to board "his" plane - only in America!
John Hopkins 0
To Ken Young
I agree with you entirely, but driving is'nt really an option to cross the Atlantic.
Jason Feldman 0
John, that is a great example of why airlines shouldn't be in a fare war to rock bottom pricing. Its a privilege. Pay what makes the planes profitable or stay home.... I would rather own a profitable airline with less frequency than one that focuses on market share. "new economics" is a great euphemism for bullsh*t.
ken young 0
John....Yes you're correct about getting across the pond.
Jason. Spot on. Back in the day, air travel was in the price range of the well to do.
Now with the way air travel is structured, passengers are crammed onto flying cattle cars.
Aircraft are turned around 30 minutes after the passengers on the previous flight have disembarked and their luggage cleared.
Run them off .Stuff the new ones in there.
At the end of each day, planes are dirty and smelly. That last flight of the day sucks.


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