I haven't been on an airplane in twenty years or more. I absolutely hate flying and will avoid it whenever possible. I hate public transportation anyway, and planes have always been worse than trains or busses, as far as customer satisfaction goes. In any American public transport you are treated like cattle, but the airlines treat you like cattle with Hoof and Mouth disease.
But with the added "security" (i.e., hassling honest passengers with little chance of actually stopping a terrorist), from what I've read, air travel has changed from purgatory to sheer hell.
On top of that, it used to be faster to fly from Chicago to St. Louis. Not any more! Now you not only have the city traffic on the way to the airport slowing you down, you are told to arrive at the terminal an hour or two before your flight.
So let's see, a half hour to get to the airport, a two hour wait, most likely without cigarettes, and an hour flying time. Again without cigarettes. If you've never smoked there is no way for you to understand that this is torture that should be outlawed by the Geneva Convention.
Then there is the taxi ride through heavy airport traffic to get to where you actually want to go.
So it's taking a total of 3 1/2 to 4 hours from your house in Chicago to your brother's house in St. Louis. Without a cigarette, facing the prospect of being pulled from the line and strip searched like a criminal, and being treated like scum the whole way.
Or you can drive to your brother's house in four hours, spending less on gasoline than you would have spent on the taxi ride. You can smoke 'em if you got 'em, you don't have to breathe the stale airplane air and the unwashed assholes, you stand zero chance of being strip searched (without actually being arrested) or having your luggage lost.
It's set to get worse before it gets better. Reuters reports, quoting Simon Stringer, the managing director of QinetiQ's security business:
Another prospect in store for air travelers is "hyperspectral sensing" that will check for chemicals called pheromones, secreted by the human body, which may indicate agitation or stress.
Are you agoraphobic? Prone to panic attacks? Claustrophobic? Afraid to fly? Uncomfortable around crowds? Then you're going to have some cop's gloved finger up your rectal cavity.
"People under stress tend to exude slightly different pheromones, and you can pick this up ... There are sensing techniques we're working on," Stringer said.
As the passenger proceeds through the terminal, the next layer of surveillance could be carried out through "cognitive software" which monitors his or her movements and sounds a silent alarm if it picks up an unusual pattern.
So if you dare fly, you had better just get in line and stay there, lest you get pulled out of your line and strip searched.
"Someone who's been back in and out of the same place three times or keeps bumping into the same people might be something that's worthy of further investigation ... I think that's really the sort of capabilities we're going to be looking at," Stringer said in an interview.
I fear the traffic on my Springfield to St. Louis is about to become worse as they make air travel even more hellish. Time to write my congressman and have him push for some more highway construction.
Because, you know, the intelligent thing to do would be to harden the cockpits, put an armed Air Marshall or two on every flight, ventilate the cabins a hell of a lot more (enough to let the smokers smoke without bothering us non-smokers), and rip out the metal detectors. Because the next terrorist to try to take out an airplane won't use a box cutter, he'll use a broken bottle.
And the final thing they should but won't do is grow a spine! They should stop being such damned cowards with their "yellow" alerts and stripping away of our rights. You're going to die, whether from a terrorist attack, a car wreck, a mugger, or old age. Living in fear is stupid. Letting your government cause you to live in fear is even stupider.
But since government isn't about to grow a spine, have any respect for you or your rights, or do anything that might reek of common sense, we'd better just lobby for more highway construction.