Saturday, April 15, 2006

10 things I hate about traveling

You know what? I hate traveling. I love going places, but I hate traveling to get there. Here's my top ten beefs about traveling:

1. The cab pickup to the Airport:
When I call a cab for 8am, don't show up at 7:30 and then sulk when I say I'm not ready.

2. The cab ride to the Airport:
I am a customer in your cab. My main goal is to get from my home to the airport...nothing more, nothing less. I do not care that driving a taxi is hard work, and how you have trouble making ends meet, etc. I do not know you and I am not a social worker.

3. The Terminals:
Airports of the world, please come up with a better way to decide what belongs in what terminal and what is considered domestic vs International. Some of you consider Canada domestic, others International. And if it says US Airways - Canada, don't be surprised that I am going to get off the bus for my US Airways flight to Canada...I cannot predict that the terminal 5 stops down is the one that is for US Airways Express to Canada. Ughhh!! Even when I try to be right, I'm wrong.

4. The Sprawler:
The guy on the plane who thinks that because you are smaller, it is okay for him to sprawl himself over to your side of the seating area.

5. Canada Customs at Toronto Airport:
Can these people not afford ropes? These people can really learn something from the U.S. Customs side. At U.S. Customs, everyone enters the ropes in the order in which they got there and they are served in the same manner and in the order in which there is an agent available. What an ingenious idea. What's with the mass confusion on the Canadian side??? And while I'm at it, why do you have to trek 5 miles to get there? And why do you have to go UP an escalator and then DOWN another one to get there? Are they trying to play some trick on us? Like they don't want us to figure out where it's located. It must be some top secret location, maybe it's not even in the airport...I could just picture the geniuses around the table at the design stages of this thing: "Oh yeah, the excruciating long walk combined with the up and down is sure to completely disorient them. They'll never figure out where the customs office is really located this way." Why don't they just blindfold us when we get off the airplane?

6. The airline snack:
Do you have to be Arnold Shwarzenegger to open this packet? Also, why can't they decide what the ingredients are? Why is there a disclaimer: "May or may not contain peanuts and/or nuts."?? It's a bag of pretzels. How can they not know if it contains nuts or not?

7. The traveling Salesman:
He always needs to find some connection with you. At a layover one day, this guy was conversating with me, asking a lot of questions trying to find some reason to pass me his business card...because for salespeople, if there is no hand-off of the business card, then the conversation was a waste. "How's that sandwich?" (oops, that won't help me hand the business card, let me move quickly from this question) "Where do you work, where did you go to school, where are you traveling from?" and so on and so on....So he finally gets to something: "So what flight are you on?". I tell him the time and destination. "Oh, my, what a gosh-darn coincidence. When you get on the flight, ask for the pilot, mention my name, he is my sister's brother-in-law. He'll know me." And BAM! He hands me the business card for reference. Thanks! Now I feel like I have some influence over this flight. I will be sure to seek out the pilot as soon as I enter the aircraft. Maybe because I can say I know you, they will give me extra snacks on the flight. Oh joy.

8. The car rental Preferred Service:
When we exit the airport and get on your little bus, it is our goal to quickly pick up our car and be on our way. If we are not on the Preferred Service Plan, then you may want to drop us off at the car pick up desk FIRST since we are the ones who will have to wait in a line. We don't wish to crawl the entire parking lot while you make 20 stops to drop off the preferred people. Please go directly to the hub, drop us off, and then go back to perform this other service. Trust me, it won't take more than two minutes extra for the other "special" people.

9. The security check:
Now I think I look fairly non-threatening. Here's what happened one of the last times at the security check: "Ma'am we have detected scissors in your bag. Please produce the scissors." I find the damn scissors and show them to the officer. "I see these are sharp edge manicure scissors. Had they been the rounded edge ones you could have taken them with you. You have two choices ma'am: You can return to the ticket counter and check your bag or you can return to the beginning and mail them to yourself." This makes no sense to me because I'd rather do neither. "Can you simply just take them?", I ask. "Yes." "Okay, I'll do that." Come on, they are a pair of manicure scissors...not a machete. What do they think I am going to do with these scissors? Force someone into trimming their cuticles against their will?? Really, what catastrophic damage could these tiny scissors do? Yet, they allow someone to board the plane with 4 books of matches. Check out this article which clarifies this idiotic rule. It basically states that this new rule was meant to end "a security loophole that lawmakers said could be exploited by terrorists seeking to light explosives in the cabin." I could be way off here, but don't matches produce fire?... How on earth did these lawmakers miss this point??? I hope at least blow torches were banned. A 4-year old could have done a better job making this law. I think that's about the age we all learned what matches do...ummm, yeah, they can light things on fire.

10. The hotel heating and air conditioning:
If apartment buildings can have separate central climate control in each unit, why can't hotels?? These contraptions are loud and obnoxious and they can only make the room two temperatures: Too Hot or Too Cold. Well, I guess I shouldn't complain. At least there's some options.

One thing I love about traveling (because, really, I don't hate everything):

1. The bag helpers:
The wonderful rental car bus drivers who come out of the bus and take your bags with a smile and the nice tall men on the plane who help you get your bags into and out of the stupid overhead bins. God bless you all. Because, clearly you can see right away that I am a girl so I must have overpacked and of course my bags are probably way too heavy for me to lift. You are my heroes. :)


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