SPRINGBORO, OH -- Last week, my wife and I took a flight from Dayton International Airport to Reagan Airport in Washington, D.C. It had been three long years since we had flown due to the Covid restrictions. You see, my wife and I did not buy into the mask rule and the six foot restrictions. Airline air in a confined cabin is bad enough... but to restrict our windpipes even further by wearing a face diaper just did not make sense.
I am not making a condemnation of those who did, but the last time I checked, we lived in a free world that would allow us to choose. In my opinion, in the last three years the CDC and WHO took that freedom away from us. Just saying...
We booked a 7:30 P.M. flight, which would have put us into D.C. by a few minutes after nine. We arrived at the off-airport parking facility two hours early where we were greeted by Bob, our friendly driver. It was then, we were told that all the flights to D.C. had been canceled due to inclement weather.
While waiting in line to be rebooked, we ran into a gentleman from Indiana who had waited four hours and through three flights, only to get all flights canceled.
My flight got canceled thirty minutes before I left my house in Springboro. Rule number one...check your flight status before leaving your house. Lesson learned.
We rebooked a 9:38 A.M. flight the next day.
The next day when we arrived I went to the ticket counter to check our luggage. I had paid the $30 fee online the night before, but the ticket agent could not find the payment. I showed her the receipt, but she said that would do her no good. After many tries she finally found the online proof and checked our luggage.
Now it was off to the T.S.A. checkpoint. The entire area was enclosed by white plywood and was obviously under construction. One door let you in. It was rather intimidating in that it resembled either an entry to a Halloween haunted house or the entrance to Hotel California. (You check in but don’t check out.)
I passed the checkpoint agent, but my wife’s driver’s license had expired. Snafu number two.
Evidently the picture on the expired I.D. was not good enough proof, so she had to pull out three credit cards (still not enough). Finally, her AAA card gave her clearance to fly that day. That’s ironic. The AAA card doesn’t even have her picture on it.
Rule number two...make sure your driver’s license is up to date, or you will be treated like a common criminal.
Next, shoes had to come off and computers, belts, purses, coats, keys, wallets, AND shoes must be placed in a bin and run through the x-ray machine. I was told that if you are 75 years old, you do not have to take off your shoes. (In one year and one month, I will qualify!) Hmmm.......why is that? I do not know who came up with that number...probably the same person that invented the six foot rule.
After that, it was time for the pat-down. My wife and I chose to opt out of the x-ray machine and get an airport massage of our private parts. My guy was a TSA trainee being supervised by his boss, and he made sure that I got the complete regulation “touchy feely” exam. We both passed.
Finally, we were out of the plywood quonset hut and were off to the gate. Once at the gate, my wife requested a bottle of water, and I went to the general store close to the gate. You would think that the store would be open at 8 A.M... but the store was closed at one of the busiest times of the day.
I had to walk back to the store close to the TSA hut (a really long walk) for the closest watering hole. The wife was happy but wondered what took me so long?
To conclude this not too pleasant experience, after one gate change and two more delays, we boarded and arrived in D.C. 90 minutes late. (Currently 23% of all flights in the U.S are delayed). It was fortunate that we did not have a connecting flight...we probably would have missed it.
My, how times have changed! On my first flight to Cox International Airport back in 1960 at age 12 there was no TSA, no baggage fees, a lot more on time flights, flights weren’t canceled at the drop of a hat and people were more friendly.
Now, most people are buried in their laptops or talking on their cell phones and text messaging others.
Welcome to Airport 2022!