Giving thanks for an uneventful year of air travel, when others weren't so lucky
There are a lot of crazy reports about air travel this time of year, from guys on TV saying they are suing TSA for violating their rights with these new scanners, to a hilarious article on CNN.com by Jessica Ravitz talking about all the things people try and sneak through security, from penguins to dead people.
Even WorldGolf.com’s Mike Bailey had a few absurd travel incidents this year, from the woman who was kicked off a plane for not putting away her Playboy - to getting caught smuggling non-golf items in his golf bag at Continental.
It’s enough to second-guess why anyone would want to take to the skies this holiday season. That said, I’ve put on over 100,000 miles in the sky this year, and it’s been pretty event-free. Security lines have been manageable, even if U.S. customs lines were a little long for my tastes on both of my overseas trips back home. Give or take an hour here or there, I arrived home when I thought I would - and that hasn’t always been the case in previous years.
Only twice all year did my checked golf bag not get off the plane when I did. At London Heathrow, British Airways delivered my golf bag three days later but the night before I was actually scheduled to begin playing golf on my trip (well-timed) and it arrived a day late on the way home from Australia, which I’m perfectly fine with.
So I must say, knocking furiously on wood, 2010 has been a good year in the skies for me.
Not everyone has been so lucky. A few of the more notable stories I’ve heard in the sky this year came from one friend who was flying down to Austin, but the plane had to turn around because a service dog started freaking out and became a security threat. Apparently the pooch had taken his relaxation meds a little too late and caused quite a scene.
Another friend I know was flying back from Europe and was stretching his legs in the aisle when the plane had a sudden jolt of turbulence that sent him straight into the cabin’s ceiling, smacking his back so hard that he had a bruise across his entire backside. Ever since I’ve heard that story, I keep my seatbelt on whenever I’m sitting down - even in calm skies.
Then who can forget the Iceland volcano eruption in April that brought air travel around the Atlantic to a standstill? I saw some twitter feeds from flustered travelers stuck in transit to or from Europe, including Golf Digest Travel Editor Matt Ginella, who had a trip to the UK foiled by the ash - but many other travelers were stranded on the wrong side of the pond. London isn’t the kind of city you want to be stranded in if you’re on a budget, carrying weak US greenbacks on your wallet.
Safe and happy travels to everyone in the skies this holiday season. And remember, leave a few minutes early, pack light, don’t sweat the little inconveniences, and a smile or helpful gesture in the airport can be contagious.
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