Next time

“We’ve decided to drive after the trouble we had getting a flight out for Thanksgiving” Aunt Ruthie said when I asked when we could expect her and Uncle Dan for their Christmas visit.
Their Thanksgiving flight was late, you see, because the inbound flight from St. Louis was late because the inbound flight from Milwaukee was late because a storm in the Pacific Northwest had delayed the inbound flight from Portland or someplace and you have to understand and the airline did say, “we apologize for any inconvenience.”
We should not have to understand anything. We pay good money to be transported by air and then have to put up with delays with lame explanations and lies and extra service fees for baggage and crowded planes and no leg room (unless you pay a little extra for an additional two inches) and overbooked flights (“I’m sorry, we’re not going to be able to get you out on the 10:30 flight because it was overbooked but we can get you out at 4:15 on a flight with a 3 hour layover in Albuquerque…”) and we just shrug and say okay because even though we’ll arrive about ten to twelve hours late at least we’ll get out and what else are you going to do?
But then I guess we’ve decided that it’s all about going a thousand miles per hour and isn’t it modern and ever so glamorous and we want to go fast but it takes forever to get through security and it would have almost been faster to drive like Aunt Ruthie and flying is just a miserable way to travel.
“Next time try the train” said the Southern Pacific Railroad’s roadside billboard of the 1930s. And the trains ran on time and they were comfortable and they ran in all types of weather and we let them go because, you know, flying is so very fast and so very modern.

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