In an early January 2018 article, HeadlineNation ran an article titled “Holiday travel increases by 25% this year to meet the demand,” which stated that every American will need to travel, on average, 195 days per year to be “sufficiently modernized,” especially given the increase in millennials making their first overseas trips.
Now, the Economist’s Mark Gilbert argues that travel may no longer be a significant source of economic growth for the U.S.
“If recent history is any guide,” he writes, “United’s flight attendants will find they’re indispensable but barely noticed — a profession of terminal insignificance — as they ply their trade within the confines of fortress-like terminals.”
Plenty of hurdles stand in the way of the estimated 16.4 billion air trips planned between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The main obstacle for American travelers is also the main obstacle for everyone else trying to get out of the confines of the United States — the nation’s lengthy wait time.
The headliner of three times busiest travel day of 2017 is becoming increasingly infrequent. On the days before Christmas, 2016, only about 100,000 flights take off and land at major U.S. airports. This number is expected to shrink to 100,000 daily flights by 2018.
For passengers and employees, today’s glacial speed has limits. Industry turnover increases — not only because employees have to adapt to more American styles of dress and demeanor, but because they find challenges within a system where procedures must be kept to a minimum.
Indeed, there are more small details and general mistakes — little things that lead to long delays and exasperation — than ever before, owing to the technology, as well as the car culture, which at times strays into arrogance, with negative side effects. A client of
The motivation that keeps airports and airlines operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week is simply to provide for passengers’ desire to move around at high speeds. The airlines keep promising us a faster, smoother, more enjoyable departure experience.
Unfortunately, getting from point A to point B — which is why we do it all the time — has become more difficult and, therefore, more dangerous.
However, as I read the New York Times articles and came across my personal experience, as well as experiences of others, while I was traveling last year, I began to understand that since when does air travel no longer matter?
As I collected my friend’s new suitcase before he boarded his plane — the one that carried his toothbrush, his pants, his shirt, his shoes, his toiletries and his cologne — he complained, “It is very long.” He was likely referring to the massive security line at his gate. The bag was the same size as my own luggage.
If I ever had the chance to pick the item we were to leave behind with when we boarded, it would be a hotel shampoo. An old man’s toothbrush, a man’s toothpaste, and so on — especially if you never take them with you.
After the next 10 hours, I experienced two minutes of real excitement when an old man came out from behind the security curtain, asked whether we were prepared to board, and then quickly darted away from his luggage before waving goodbye to a teenage girl with a tray holding his usual toiletries. An old man’s toothbrush.
Four years ago, I experienced similar excitement while waiting to board a flight home from Boston. We had, as many do before and after leaving the United States, a liquid “security concern.”
Yes, there were metal items banned. Each was securely closed and removed in a plastic baggie to go through the X-ray machine. Each was removed as the metal object was not completely detachable and could easily dissolve in water.
Because that was the most important thing we had to do the rest of the flight.
When an old man’s toothbrush and so on were removed after this and other incidents of confusion occurred, it became clear that airports and airlines can be excellent businesses with little benefit to the less fortunate — namely, the passengers who may need them, especially when traveling overseas. But, all of us need to appreciate the pointlessness of travel and be cognizant of what is really happening on a daily basis.