My first airplane travel experience did not occur until I was 36 years old.  I was terrified and the experience did not gain my appreciation over the years.  There did come a time when I was able to fly without anxiety, able to sit in a small, crowded, hot, smelly airplane for hours at a time.  I did not clench my teeth on landing or close my eyes and pray during takeoff.

I was able to fly internationally three times in four years and never worried about being over the ocean in an absurdly heavy metal tube with wings.  I actually enjoyed flying once in awhile, when weather was good and flights were on time and I had some place interesting to go.

Last spring when my daughter and I flew to England we were delayed by one day at the onset of our trip.  We spent our first night in Chicago, which was not where we wanted to be.  At the airport in Fargo we sat and waited for our flight, noticing that the time of the departure was getting closer and closer and no one was telling us to board.

No announcement was made and so my daughter and a few other travelers concerned about missing connecting flights went out of the gate area and back down to the airline counters to determine what the likelihood was of our making our evening flight to London.  Needless to say, we did not, and while the airline promised us vouchers for a taxi and a free motel stay, we still paid out of pocket.

We were not able to use our taxi voucher because the driver did not understand what it was, and when we arrived at the motel the airline assured us had vacancies, the bewildered college-student at the front desk informed us that there was a convention in town and they were completely booked.  We, along with others in the same fix, ended up calling all over Chicago for vacancies in other motels in that chain.

We did find one and once again we paid out of pocket for a taxi.  We spent the night in the kind of motel often featured in movies about drug trafficking and we had spent $50 before even getting out of the Midwest.  We got out the next day on a flight to London, but on a different airline which was not quite as nice as we would have imagined.  Add to that the fact that when taking my seat I was hit on the back of the head by someone's carry on bag when it fell out of the overhead.

This week I flew to Kentucky for some church business and I once again experienced the inconvenience of modern flight.  I landed in Minneapolis with a 45-minute layover and took a 30-minute run through the airport to reach my gate, which had to be a mile from where I flew in.  At least it was about 5000 steps on my pedometer!

Coming back I sat in Louisville waiting for a plane to arrive so that we could board.  An hour after the flight was meant to leave we did take off.  Most of us on the plane had connections in Minneapolis and so were concerned about missing those.  The flight attendant did a good job of keeping us informed and the pilot did make up some time.  Thankfully I made my flight home.

I realize that airlines are at the mercy of weather, maintenance problems, and many unknown events.  Time is just a suggestion in the travel industry, as anyone who has ever waited for Amtrak can testify.  My problem is when hundreds of dollars are shelled out, plus another $50 for one simple checked bag, only to sit and wait without the courtesy of being told why you are waiting.

I used to work in a doctor's office so I know what it's like to work with frustrated and angry people who are tired of waiting.  We always explained why the doctor was running late.  I try to be patient in clinics because of my experience.  With airlines, however, I feel we are owed a bit more information since we are the ones who keep them in business.  Anyone else feel this way?

My first airplane travel experience did not occur until I was 36 years old.  I was terrified and the experience did not gain my appreciation over the years.  There did come a time when I was able to fly without anxiety, able to sit in a small, crowded, hot, smelly airplane for hours at a time.  I did not clench my teeth on landing or close my eyes and pray during takeoff. I was able to fly internationally three times in four years and never worried about being over the ocean in an absurdly heavy metal tube with wings.  I actually enjoyed flying once in awhile, when weather was good and flights were on time and I had some place interesting to go. Last spring when my daughter and I flew to England we were delayed by one day at the onset of our trip.  We spent our first night in Chicago, which was not where we wanted to be.  At the airport in Fargo we sat and waited for our flight, noticing that the time of the departure was getting closer and closer and no one was telling us to board. No announcement was made and so my daughter and a few other travelers concerned about missing connecting flights went out of the gate area and back down to the airline counters to determine what the likelihood was of our making our evening flight to London.  Needless to say, we did not, and while the airline promised us vouchers for a taxi and a free motel stay, we still paid out of pocket. We were not able to use our taxi voucher because the driver did not understand what it was, and when we arrived at the motel the airline assured us had vacancies, the bewildered college-student at the front desk informed us that there was a convention in town and they were completely booked.  We, along with others in the same fix, ended up calling all over Chicago for vacancies in other motels in that chain. We did find one and once again we paid out of pocket for a taxi.  We spent the night in the kind of motel often featured in movies about drug trafficking and we had spent $50 before even getting out of the Midwest.  We got out the next day on a flight to London, but on a different airline which was not quite as nice as we would have imagined.  Add to that the fact that when taking my seat I was hit on the back of the head by someone's carry on bag when it fell out of the overhead. This week I flew to Kentucky for some church business and I once again experienced the inconvenience of modern flight.  I landed in Minneapolis with a 45-minute layover and took a 30-minute run through the airport to reach my gate, which had to be a mile from where I flew in.  At least it was about 5000 steps on my pedometer! Coming back I sat in Louisville waiting for a plane to arrive so that we could board.  An hour after the flight was meant to leave we did take off.  Most of us on the plane had connections in Minneapolis and so were concerned about missing those.  The flight attendant did a good job of keeping us informed and the pilot did make up some time.  Thankfully I made my flight home. I realize that airlines are at the mercy of weather, maintenance problems, and many unknown events.  Time is just a suggestion in the travel industry, as anyone who has ever waited for Amtrak can testify.  My problem is when hundreds of dollars are shelled out, plus another $50 for one simple checked bag, only to sit and wait without the courtesy of being told why you are waiting. I used to work in a doctor's office so I know what it's like to work with frustrated and angry people who are tired of waiting.  We always explained why the doctor was running late.  I try to be patient in clinics because of my experience.  With airlines, however, I feel we are owed a bit more information since we are the ones who keep them in business.  Anyone else feel this way?