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Poll results: How often do you fly?

Voters
40. You may not vote on this poll
  • so often I have wings sprouting from my ears

    1 2.50%
  • once a month on average

    2 5.00%
  • two to three times per year on average

    18 45.00%
  • once a year

    12 30.00%
  • once a decade

    3 7.50%
  • never had occasion to fly

    0 0%
  • always choose alternate means of transport (ala Madden)

    1 2.50%
  • other (explain below)

    3 7.50%
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Thread: Teh Airline Thread

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Teh Airline Thread

    I haven't flown for several years but back in the 80's there was a time I flew on commercial airlines probably a dozen or more times a year. During that time I experienced the good the bad and ugly the airlines had to offer. I understand, however, the amount of delay one experiences post-9/11 (especially international flights) has altered the air travel experience quite a bit since I last flew regularly.

    How about you - any airline horror stories you'd care to share? Lost luggage? Interminable delays? Missed connecting flights? Unpleasant passengers or staff?

    Or the flip side of the coin - what was the best air travel experience you had? Best airline? Best airport? (or at least best airport cocktail lounge)



    Last edited by Maister; 31 Mar 2008 at 12:24 PM.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  2. #2
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    I don't know that I have a particular favorite airport. I've always had good luck flying into Baltimore-Washington.

    Oddly, the airport I felt the safest in was Toledo Express. Its security was leaps and bounds tighter than many other airports, including San Antonio and Austin. The last time I caught a red-eye out of San Antonio, my screener was asleep.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  3. #3
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    inhale deeply when the air bag is released...

    Your forgot to put "magic carpet" as an option...

    I like to dream yes, yes, right between my sound machine
    On a cloud of sound I drift in the night
    Any place it goes is right
    Goes far, flies near, to the stars away from here

  4. #4
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    No horror stories (I've only flown 4 times in my life). My best experience was with America West before they were bought out by US Airways flying from Oklahoma City to Phoenix. Their level of service was great on that flight, there was no delays, and the crew, including the captain, would point out landscape features as we crossed them through the desert. It was fun.

  5. #5
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian View post
    Your forgot to put "magic carpet" as an option...
    Off-topic:
    Dan, I don't see quoting Steppenwolf lyrics explicitly listed as a Cyburbia rules violation. Is there something we can do to change that?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  6. #6
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    As I've mentioned elsewhere, I'm a former airline employee so I used to fly ALOT. 9/11 ruined that for everybody. I'd rather take my chances that some idiot(s) are going bring down my plane than deal with the delays and stupidity that have been imposed on air travel to protect us. As a result, I now fly only when I have no other choice readily available. Southwest Airlines always had the best people at the gates to deal with and American Airlines the worst. Same with flight crews. O'Hare is my least favorite airport although ATL and LAX are right up there with it. Pre-9/11, LAX had the most entertaining people passing through it.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  7. #7
    I was flying US Scareways right after Christmas in the mid-90s. It was a beautiful day in Jersey, but Pittsburgh was snowed in, so they routed me through Charlotte.

    Got into Charlotte late because of freezing rain, had to OJ it from the last gate of one wing of the terminal all the way around to the very last gate at the other wing but was able to get on right before they shut the door.

    The plane wasn't half full. We stop before de-icing and sit, and sit, and sit. I overheard the cabin crew talking about some young guy wanting to know if they could open the door so he could have a smoke. We still haven't rolled very far in the line of planes queued up for de-icing when the cabin crew comes dashing through the plane stopping at the young man a few rows behind me and questioning him about where he put the cigarette he smoked in the lav. Dude's not fessing up. They tell him we can still fly to Louisville if he'll tell them so there isn't a fire hazard aboard. ALL the passengers are looking at this guy with pleading looks because we all want to get home. Nothing, nada, zilch.

    Next thing you know we're rolling back to the gate. Everybody onboard is pixxed. We come to the gate and wait a few minutes until two NC state troopers board and escort numbnuts off the plane in cuffs (to NSFW serenades from the fellow passengers).

    By then it was about 11:00 pm. There were no hotel rooms anywhere in Charlotte due to the storm. They gave me a $25 voucher but the only place open was the bar, and they were about to close (I drank fast and got a bag of popcorn -- the only food still available). Spent the night on the floor of the terminal and used the remaining voucher cash for screwdrivers that morning.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    I've flown more over the last two or three years than I did during the entire decade before that. Most of the recent trips have been for business, as my client base has expanded into other states that would take way too long to reach by car. Unfortunately, virtually any place I want to go requires at least one connection -- there are few direct flights.

    The worst experiences have involved cancelled flights that may or may not have had to do with weather. I think the airlines sometimes cancel flights simply because they aren't full -- and I'm talking about the 'puddle-jumper' types of planes, not 747s. In one instance my connecting flight was cancelled, and I was told to take the train to reach another airport, with minimal instructions about where I was supposed to go.

    My husband worked for 3 or 4 different airlines, all of which went bankrupt on him, before he decided it was time to choose a new career. However, the experience did instill in him an understanding of all the BS that airline employees deal with on a daily basis, and he's always very polite with them, even in a bad situation.

    One of the best experiences I've had was when our flight out of San Diego was delayed, making it impossible for us to get our connecting flight home. Thanks to my husband's airline experience and polite demeanor, the agent put us on another flight in first class -- the only time in my life I've flown first class!

    A close 2nd would be my first overseas flight, on British Airways to Glasgow. The flight attendants freely handed out mini-bottles of wine to go with our dinners, and were just wonderfully friendly. Given the state of the industry today, though, I wonder if it's still the same...

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Bubba's avatar
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    I average out to about one round-trip per year flying - usually on Delta, sometimes on Airtran. No real horror stories...mostIy just weather delays (the Airtran gate at LGA is not a good place to hang out in during a delay - very cramped). I caught a Delta flight up to New York the day they declared bankruptcy (in 2005) - the flight attendants were in an ugly mood, but they did decide to not charge us for alcohol during the flight.
    I found you a new motto from a sign hanging on their wall…"Drink coffee: do stupid things faster and with more energy"

  10. #10
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    I have not had good luck with airline travel in the last three years.

    Spent four days in Pittsburgh and NWA lost our luggage for three of those. The worst part was that they called us three different times to say the luggage was on its way. When it didn't arrive and I called again, they said that in fact they had not located it. Finally, they just stopped returning my calls checking on the status. It was early November and COLD. With two children, it made for a not-as-fun-as-it-could-have-been time in Pittsburgh. They finally got the stuff to us at 2am (yes, they called to wake me) the same morning we were flying out. The best was that, after we wrote a letter of complaint, they informed us that "if they had known" (and how could they not?) that they would have offered us a $50 clothing allowance per passenger. But now that the trip period was over, it didn't apply

    They regularly lose my luggage going to Seattle. We usually get it later the same day (this happened the last three visits). Not too big a deal, but you would think they might get this one right after a while.

    More recently I was flying with my son to Seattle via Denver. The flight to Denver was delayed and all the way up through boarding, they kept insisting that we would still make our connection. Once on, they discovered that they had put too much fuel in the plane and that we were now past weight capacity. They polled people to get off and, asking again if we were going to make our connection, we were informed that we wouldn't.

    So, I tell the lady that we would be glad to get off now (since they were refusing to pay for our hotel in Denver - no more connecting flights went out that day). The lady says "sure, I'll be right back." The next thing I know, we are taxing out onto the runway and taking off! We ended up getting into our $120 hotel room past midnight (partly because we tried to claim our luggage to get toothbrushes since we can't carry that onboard anymore and, you guessed it, they lost our luggage! But it only took 2 and a half hours to determine this) and our flight went out the next morning at 6am.

    For some reason, they also tagged us for extra searching at Albuquerque, again at Denver the next morning, and leaving Seattle to return. I didn't mind this so much except that they were so incredibly incompetent. At one point, they screened us and then left, saying "I'll be right back." 15 minutes later, the guy shows up and says "oh, are you still here? - you can go now." Then I had to ask if he was giving me that "magic wand" they rub on your baggage to search for explosives residue because he left it inside my carry-on bag. Now that's professionalism for ya...

    The airline was extremely rude about the whole thing. No allowances, no apologies, no help with a hotel room, no vouchers for anything, and no luggage! We wrote a firm but respectful letter to the airlines submitted through the website and snail mail and never received a response.

    I figure my luck's gotta turn, but these days, who knows. Shortly after the Pittsburgh trip, I read that lost luggage was up 94 percent!
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    USAir canceled our flight the last time we flew and didn't let us know...we went to the airport and were ready to go and then the manager passed us on to another poor employee to tell us we were leaving the next day.

    I've had good luck with Northwest recently, although over the course of my flying life it hasn't been that way.

    I know that certain concourses/terminals tend to be better or worse than others based on what airline I'm flying vs. what airline has that airport as a hub. That being said:

    Memphis's airport is kind of blah. Houston's airport is awful, poor signage and idiotic employees. Detroit's is great, lots of food and shopping...and walking. Not sure I like that part of it. Denver's was nice, which is good because I always get stuck there.

    I could go on and on about airports and airlines, I have several family members who work for them.

  12. #12
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    I fly about two or three times per year. Usually to the APA conference and a random wedding or two.

    I flew to Australia 8 years ago and went with United, for the fare... mistake. My wife went the same year (prior to us knowing each other) and went with Air Malaysia and absolutely loved it. While I was cramped and watching a dumb movie, she was playing Dr. Mario and enjoying her leg room.

    As an aside, I have found that in the last two or so years all flights have been just a bit worse. Timing, service, and enjoyment have all been down. Now they are looking to charge for everything, including water... I might have to find another transportation method.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  13. #13
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
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    I've never had any trouble flying, but then again I really haven't flown that much. I've normally taken Amtrak when going back to Buffalo, but decided to fly this time. 10-11 hours on the train can get a bit tedious, not to mention that the only train is an overnight one and I have trouble sleeping on it. I can't say I enjoy flying and would much prefer rail travel. Even without highspeed rail technology trains could begin to be competitive with airlines at least for shorter distances, but when the trains have to stop at random points to allow freight trains to pass amongst other delays, it can be a bit tedious.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian TOFB's avatar
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    3-4 times a year. I love flying and airports, but if I flew more, I know it would get old.

    Favorite airport: Washington Reagan (Gate to the Hill in 15 minutes via METRO)

    Favorite Airline: American

    Worst Airline: United

    Favorite Airplane: 777

    Best Takeoff: O'Hare at Night

    Best Landing: San Diego

  15. #15
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    okay, Dan, you started it...

    and you also forgot a hot air balloon as a possible mode of air transport/other....

    Would you like to ride in my beautiful balloon
    Would you like to ride in my beautiful balloon
    We could float among the stars together, you and I
    For we can fly we can fly
    Up, up and away
    My beautiful, my beautiful balloon
    The world's a nicer place in my beautiful balloon
    It wears a nicer face in my beautiful balloon
    We can sing a song and sail along the silver sky
    For we can fly we can fly
    Up, up and away
    My beautiful, my beautiful balloon
    Suspended under a twilight canopy
    We'll search the clouds for a star to guide us
    If by some chance you find yourself loving me
    We'll find a cloud to hide us
    We'll keep the moon beside us
    Love is waiting there in my beautiful balloon
    Way up in the air in my beautiful balloon
    If you'll hold my hand we'll chase your dream across the sky
    For we can fly we can fly
    Up, up and away
    My beautiful, my beautiful balloon
    Balloon...
    Up, up, and away.....
    am I in the right thread, wait, isn't this the thread about songs you can't get out of your head?.....

  16. #16
    Worst airline-Delta-only 1 experience were nothing went wrong. This include lost luggage, over booked flight, etc. I refuse to fly them anymore. There is a reason they went bankrupt.

    Worst airports-ATL way too big, and you need a decent layover to make the next flight. San Antonio, messy, not much to do.

    Best Airline-Southwest- Friendly crews-even if it's forced. Reliable service.

    Best Airports-Milwaukee-just a neat airport with lots to look at. Dulles-DC. Clean-effiecent, plenty to look at.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Earlist - There is a picture of me when I was 4 +/- yrs old wearing a suit boarding a Constellation (triple tail) with my Great Aunt to fly to California.
    Anybody remember when people used to dressed up/sunday best to fly ?

    With family in CA and NJ I flew/fly frequently. Some years it was/is twice a year.

    I find it humerous that an airport can go by three different names - Santa Ana, Orange County, John Wayne.

    I have flown out of EWR; LAX; SLC; Denver Stapleton and DIA; San Jose, CA; EVV countless times.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    I fly once or twice a month, almost entirely in the West. (Phoenix, Las Vegas, Southern Cal, Seattle, Denver, and Salt Lake City mostly) Typically, the only time I ever use another airline from Southwest is when flying cross country or outside the US (I flew Virgin America a couple times to try them out - very nice, but not very many destinations) I'm one of those guys that immediately falls asleep on the plane no matter if I'm tired or not, so maximum amount of flights and on-time percentage is really all that matters to me - so Southwest wins. It's very nice being able to pick from about 15 daily flights to each place and move up to an earlier flight if I finish up early.

    I'm partial to small airports because they're soooooooo much easier to get in and out of. Every time I go to Denver it seems like I spend an hour just getting to my gate.

    Best airport - Oakland. Small enough for speed, big enough to walk around and look at stuff if there is extra time. Almost always on-time leaving.

    Worst airport - Denver. Long security lines, mandatory train trip of a few minutes, seemingly billions of gates (and I always seem to be at the last one), almost always late leaving.

    Runner-up worst airport - San Francisco. It only makes runner-up because flying international is AWESOME from this airport. Brand new international terminal is incredible and international flights get priority and usually leave on time. Worst airport for domestic though - too big, separate security lines so if you happen to be flying the wrong airline you may have almost no services around the gate, and EVERY domestic flight is late it seems, usually by an hour or more. Stupid fog.

    Favorite airline - Virgin America for domestic, British Airways international. Southwest is the most convenient for the flying I do, however.

    Least favorite airline - Alaska. I've always had horrible experiences with Alaska, twice being stranded somewhere overnight because of mechanical problems.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    I like to get out and see folks/things so I jet around some. I rather fly out of National (I refuse to call it by its new name) than most other places but there are so few flights.

    Flew out of the old Detroit airport the day before it was due to close what a hedious mess that was! But by far the worst was Aug of 2001 being messed over at LaGarbage airport for a night right out of a horror flick no way in HELL would I go back to that airport now.

    I do most of my flying in and out of Orlando (aka the worst TSA lines ever) so I bit the bullet and got my CLEAR card. Most of the places I fly or plan to fly have CLEAR lines so no more waiting in line for me.

    It may not make the sky any safer (I don't think any of it does) but Im sure safer not wanting to dismember my fellow passengers and less arguing with TSA (I seem to have a small habit of doing just such)

    I fly into San Fran in 2 weeks and curious to see how that airport works
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Salmissra's avatar
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    I have several stories:

    Worst: Flying international on Delta. I was suppose to fly DFW to ATL to Brasilia to Rio. Total trip: about 12 hours. Instead, ATL was shut down due to windshear, and I ended up in Montgomery AL for about 6 hours. The turbulence was real bad, and my poor neighbor had to listen to me vomit for 2 hours. And there was the hysterical screaming lady in first class!! I didn't miss my plane to Brazil, because it was in TN for 8 hours! Total trip: 22 hours. And in Rio, my friend had no idea what was going on, because the airlines wouldn't say! There is a detailed version of this story that I gave as a Toastmasters speech, and it was a humorous look at this experience, because it was overall so bad you had to laugh or cry.

    Runner-up for worst: Returning to DFW via American Eagle, from Phoenix. BF (now hubby) and I aren't sitting together, he is mildly clausterphobic, and I get airsick if there's turbulence. And oh boy, was there ever! He ended up holding hands with the old lady next to him, while I was making use of the air sickness bags - mine and my neighbors! We had to circle DFW for over an hour. It was over a year before I got on a plane again. This was by far the worst trip physically, because I have never thrown up so much on a plane before (including the Brazil flight) or since.

    Southwest Airlines in general has the best service. I don't like having to plane-hop for log distances, but in the southern region they are the best. And they go to some of the airports that the other big companies don't service.

    I've flown American to Europe, and it was okay. Not great, but not bad. I've also flown United to Europe, and I don't think I'll do that again. Plane was warm, armrests did not go up all the way (so I couldn't stretch out over the seats) and the food was lukewarm. On the plus side, neither airline has lost my luggage.
    Back in high school I flew to Europe on Pan Am. The trip over asn't that bad - I don't remember any bad details - but the return trip was horrible. The flight from Frankfurt to NY Kennedy was preparing to land when Pan Am ground crews went on strike. My 3 hour layover turned into an 8 hour layover. The nice representative from the school was not there to meet me (as I was told she would be), I had zero American money, and I was sitting on my luggage in the concourse. On the shuttle to DC they lost one of my suitcases, and it happen to be the one with the band instrument in it! They did deliver it two days later.

    I'm returning to the air this summer. There's just not a way to get from Texas to Vancouver, BC and back in a week otherwise. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for me, my hubby and our luggage the whole way, both ways!

    I can't say which airport is worst: IAH (Houston Intercontinental) or DEN. I haven't had good luck with either. DFW's international concourse rocks! and Love Field is pretty nice, too.
    Last edited by Salmissra; 31 Mar 2008 at 4:17 PM.
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  21. #21
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    I usually fly 1-2 times a year, depending upon what is going on.

    DEN is my base airport. I mostly fly to GEG (Spokane, WA) and MEM (Memphis).
    Favorite Airport: DEN
    Least Favorite: IAH (Houston-Bush)

    Notable Experiences:
    • Flying Alaska Airlines with my wife (DEN-SEA-GEG). Fly out of Denver on time, land in Seattle. Enough of a layover for chow and a beer. Flight from Seattle to Spokane is the late (9pm) flight and is just a 40 minute hop over Washington. Flight derlayed due to mechanical troubles. Many people angry. ME? I will wait as long as it takes to travel in a working plane. Thank You. Finally flying to Spokane and they did make right by giving away free beer!
    • Return legh, same trip, this time a layover in Portland. Landing in Portland late, my wife and I make it to the gate for the flight to Denver just at the door closing. We realized that our luggage was left in PDX. Alaska Airlines says that it'll arrive in Denver at 10pm (we're there at 4pm) and they can bring it up to our house the next morning. The next morning meant 2am...
    • And then, on the flight out for our honeymoon, Contental puts us in a cigar tube of a commuter jet for our leg from Houston to Ixtapa, MX. An hour into the flight we turn around to go back to Houston so the radar can get fixed. It is a 20 minute fix on the ground which translated into a 40 minute wait inside the plane, with the door open, on a summer afternoon in Houston... you figure out the rest.

    I pay attention to this closely as an aviation buff.

    My favorite airline? Right now it is Frontier, I have enjoyed flying them. Even during the stressful Christmas blizzard travel in Denver in 2006.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  22. #22
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    I love landing at National. It seems as though the wheels are in the river just before touchdown. Doing it again in one month from today....
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  23. #23
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    I've only flown about three times, and all three flights were post-9/11. I found out the first time I flew that I have motion sickness, when I threw up just before landing. So, now I take Drammamine every time I fly, and I'm perfectly fine.

    I've had a few rough landings here and there, primarily at smaller airports with shorter runways like Chicago/Midway and St. Petersburg/Clearwater.

    I've flown ATA, Southwest, and United, and I have to say that Southwest is the best. All their employees seem very helpful and friendly, and their rates are very reasonable.

    Most of my problems have occurred at security. The second time I flew, I forgot to take all the change out of my pocket setting off all the metal detectors, and had to be taken aside, patted down, and cleared by TSA. I also lost my cell phone at the airport, which I was never able to get back. The third time I flew, the hard black casing along the inside of my luggage was smashed to pieces by the TSA, probably because they wanted to check under there or something. Whatever though, I'm sure worse things can happen.

    I'd say my favorite airport to fly into is Midway, because I love looking at the Chicago skyline. My favorite airport overall is Southwest Florida/Ft. Myers, because it's so easy to get in and out of.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  24. #24
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    I haven't flown since I got married in Hawaii, almost 6 years ago. Prior to that I was flying 3-4 times a year, for a couple of years (back when I was footloose and fancy free ).

    My first time flying was when I was about 5, and we hopped a couple small planes from Iowa to Michigan, to go to the UAW retreat. Didn't fly again till my family flew out to L.A. for vacation, 12 years later.

    I've never had a bad flying experience, knock on wood. The little commuter planes that fly in and out of the tiny airport in my hometown are like fun amusement park rides to me. And hitting turbulence in the big planes sort of thrills me.

    I gotta say, the Lambert St. Louis Airport is stinky, and the people working there always seem rude. I hate that airport with a passion.

    As for my favorite airport I've flown into, hands down it is the Honolulu International Airport. The flight sucks, cause it takes so long (sucks even more coming back) but the views are wonderful, and the airport seemed to run smoothly.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian
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    Slightly off topic, but since the topic is flying--My wife is an air traffic controller. I may be better aquainted with the situation than most of the general public, but suffice it to say that we have no plans to fly anywhere in the foreseeable future. If anyone is interested, I'll elaborate.

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  5. Airline Insanity
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 10
    Last post: 09 Aug 2002, 9:18 AM