Airplanes are flying germ tubes full of human beings at their worst.
Flying used to be among the most cosmopolitan of undertakings. The high adventure of man's dominance of the heavens, the feeling of self-importance upon checking in, the élan of in-flight fraternization.
Now air travel is a bloody struggle for resources and sanity from the moment you log on to Expedia. After you've spent nine hours online to save $15 in airfare, you trundle through the automatic doors of Terminal 4, and that's when things get Hotel Rwanda.
If you've flown just once in your life, you've contemplated all manner of 'cides, sui- and mass homi- included. You've also experienced every one of the following 15 dumbest drawbacks to air travel. –Jordan Burchette
What's the problem? Passenger boarding rates are twice what they were in the 1970s, thanks largely to these human speed bumps, who stow overhead bags and tuck into their seats like boarding a stage coach for Deadwood.
Why they're dumb: Air travel is plenty unreliable as it is without the living dead loitering in the aisle like it's a 7-Eleven parking lot. These are also the people most likely not to pull into the intersection while waiting to make a left turn.
"Bossy" flight crews
What's the problem? In air travel's golden age, stewardesses were comely sky maidens. Now, thanks to the loss of discrimination as a hiring tool, they're more like curmudgeonly school marms.
Why they're dumb: Flight attendants, backed by their big bro in the cockpit, have gone mad with power, dictatorially deciding who can board, what they can wear and where they can poop. I only take that kinda mess from cute stews, am I right, my Southwest pilots?!
Bogus fare sales
What's the problem? Jet Blue sends you an email advertising 13-cent fares. When you click the link, book an itinerary and await the total, it ends up costing $2,200.
Why they're dumb: You can sit there trying to crack their reservations system like a Rubik's Cube, but no combination of departure and arrival cities ever totals the fares advertised.
What's the problem? Predatory TSA agents are too frisky in their frisking of grandmas and grandkids under the guise of security, which to many experts amounts to illegal search and seizure under the U.S. Constitution. (And a customary greeting under the Italian Constitution.)
Why it's dumb: How much C4 does the Department of Homeland Security think a baby taint can hold? I've sneaked more contraband past inept TSA agents by accident than they've ever discovered during the screening process. Do I look like a terrorist?! All right, all right... do I look like a Muslim terrorist?
People who complain about security-check molestation
What's the problem? Despite all of the horror stories involving sexual assault on corpses and embryos, the rate of formal complaints has barely changed since the TSA introduced enhanced screening last fall. Still, the chorus of alarmists unhinged by the new measures has grown like al Qaeda's membership.
Why they're dumb: Notice how it's only the people you would never want to grope who complain about being victims of it? Less than three percent of all travelers receive a pat down as it is; how are we supposed to stay ahead of the terror wizards at JihadCorp with these prudes convincing everyone that TSA agents get off on fondling fupas?
Incontinent row mates
What's the problem? Sporting bladders the size of mussel shells, your fellow travelers are in and out of your row like it's a dance step.
Why they're dumb: Unless you're on a flight from the Dominican Republic, you've got no business going to the bathroom every 12 minutes.
What's the problem? As if it's not bad enough that the amount of sittable space on planes is tightening, the average American is spreading faster than cholera, making already close quarters more like close nickels.
Why they're dumb: They waddle down the aisle clogging the boarding process like it's an aorta, then, once seated, they seep into the areas of those around them like gravy in an ice tray. They clearly can't be bothered to walk; why do they need to fly?
What's the problem? If they're not crying at levels that threaten to crack the fuselage, they're kicking the back of your seat like it's a drug bust. If they're not kicking your seat, they're coughing swine flu on you to the complete indifference of their useless parents.
Why they're dumb: Babies don't even know they have feet — where do they need to go that can't be reached by Bugaboo? You can't get a 16-ounce bottle of water through security, but a 15-pound bag of pathogens slides through, no problem.
What's the problem? You get through security without a hitch. The flight takes off on the dot. Everything is going as smooth as buttered glass. Then some guy with an exploding prosthetic butt yells, "Allahu akbar!" It's always something.
Why they're dumb: Our presence in the Middle East is greater than it was before 9/11. Talk about your all-time backfires! Seriously, though, they're still better than kids.
Nickel and diming
What's the problem? Airlines, especially legacy carriers that should be allowed to die like anything over 50 in this country, have revolutionized ways to put a price sticker on anything, to the tune of nearly $6 billion in the U.S. last year alone. It started reasonably enough with snacks, but has metastasized to include reclining, checked luggage, kids flying solo and even overhead carry-ons.
Why it's dumb: Booking online used to cost less because it saved airlines money on phone reps; now it comes with a "convenience charge." With the commoditization of everything, a lavatory No. 2 fee can't be far behind.
"Wacky" flight attendants
What's the problem? In post-reality millennial America, everyone's a star, and air hosts are no exception. Freed of the responsibility of actually serving passengers, these days flight attendants are rappers, stand-up comics, back-up dancers for Lady Gaga — just about anything that doesn't involve "attendance" of any kind.
Why they're dumb: It's bad enough when Lady Gaga does it. But at least you can shoot her; assaulting a flight attendant is a federal offense.
Getting crammed into the little person section of the cabin
What's the problem? The average coach seat has shrunk in legroom by eight percent. The average American has increased in size by 92 percent. Combine that with increased access to air travel for every band on the socio-economic dial and it's like shoehorning yourself into a Christmas Eve scrum for the last iPad in Brooklyn.
Why it's dumb: With the removal of just one or two rows on most planes, carriers could provide the comfort level enjoyed by most prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions. Since the airlines operate at 72 percent average occupancy anyway, they could lose 10 rows and still wouldn't miss 'em.
Insanely expensive airplane food
What's the problem? Really, T.G.I. Friday's? Fourteen dollars for a half-cooked chicken sandwich with Velveeta glacé served in a footbath? And it costs 40 percent MORE at your airport location???
Why it's dumb: Those aren't grill marks, they're tire tracks. Most franchised food is already barf in a burrito covering to begin with — it's 45 times worse when served within the blast radius of a 747. And all for only twice the price.
What's the problem? Flight's scheduled for 7:30. You get to the airport at 6, because you don't want to leave anything to chance. Flight doesn't leave until November.
Why they're dumb: Like rain at a baseball game, operators know they have you captive during inclement weather, mechanical failure or just staggering ineptitude, making Coachella-priced concessions at the airport all the more loathsome. If you're already on the plane when it gets delayed, you might as well just hang yourself with the oxygen mask hose.
Why they're dumb: Ever clap when the mechanic returns your car to you with all four tires on it? Ever pump your fist and whoop when a bartender hands you a glass with a drink in it? Cheering is reserved for the accomplishment of the unexpected. Why would you board a plane you didn't expect would land?