Društvo| Putovanja

The Flying Buses

Chris Farmer RSS / 29.03.2011. u 08:31

There was a time (he said, adopting an avuncular, if not grandfatherly, tone) when travelling by airplane was something of a prestigious or luxurious experience. The little tiny soaps in the bathroom were novelties. The bathrooms, while we are the subject, were kept clean. The stewardesses were lovely and smiling and charming. And the whole experience was rather pleasant...

The airlines would alert passengers of delays, sometimes even phoning them at home. The booking of the flight took place in an atmosphere akin to booking a resort holiday in the Maldives. The passenger, in short, was made to feel respected, important, and in charge of the situation. However...

The following is an actual conversation, recorded to the best of my memory, which I heard this weekend at the airport:

When is the flight to London?

They will make an announcement later.

The gate used to be A1 and now it says nothing. Did it change?


Is the flight delayed?

They will make an announcement.

What time will it leave?

Check again later.

No phone was lifted nor computer consulted for the "information" attendant to impart strictly no information to the worried passenger. I winced as I listened because I was about to go ask the same set of questions. And get the same set of non-answers.

The plane today is a lot like a bus, except that it defies gravitational laws. We never know when the bus is coming. Half the time we do not know where the bus will take us. People jostle and push and shove their way onto the bus while the driver waits, bored, to close the doors.

Another point of difference is that, on the bus, we do not suspect the passengers of trying to hide explosive devices in their belts. While it is true that no one wants to be on a plane which might be bombed, it is also true that taking off all of our clothes at the security check point is a little more than humiliating for everyone - and I have doubts as to how many terrorists it stops.

All the metal out of the pockets. Then your jacket. Then your watch. Then your belt (never mind if your pants fall down). Then your shoes. And then you still beep because somewhere on your person is something suspicious (never blame the machine, please). Therefore: hands up and submit to a search. If all this is not enough, once they have cleared you (or arrested and executed you), the next passenger is crowding in behind for his or her full body-cavity search while you are still trying to get redressed and reassembled.

After this experience, we wander through the departure hall reading sign and listening to announcements telling us that our flight has been mysteriously delayed or re-routed through Ouagadougou.

My advice - take deep breaths and a seat. Asking at the information desk may cause you to be nostalgic for the bus.


Komentari (7)

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jinks jinks 09:11 29.03.2011


when travelling by airplane was something of a prestigious or luxurious experience

There was an episode on History channel about the early days airlines that took passengers across the Atlantic Ocean. For that time, nothing fancy and too much expensive, just a common transatlantic airline.

The service included: actual bed for sleeping, three rich meals, live music, cabin organized as comfortable room and not as a more or less spaced coach, etc.

By the way, maybe, in it's early days, the bus lines were also organized as a prestigious or luxurious experience, for that time.
fantomatsicna fantomatsicna 10:37 29.03.2011

As long

As you can get from A to B without flying into the high rise building, having snoring or know sometning is wrong on the flight person next to you,maybe good book to read and some drinks and cofee..it's ok for me.
Emir Halilovic Emir Halilovic 11:13 29.03.2011

Cattle class

There's a reason why "Economy" is more popularly known as "Cattle" class nowadays. In some airports there are facilities that can make your life less miserable, not so in Belgrade (but, say, Stockholm is not too different, lounges suck, no separate lines for business class, etc.).

Of course the "anti-terrorist" measures are retarded, but so is the majority of the population and, therefore, politicians who promulgate those rules (not to mention the education or training level of TSA or comparable personnel).

And of course the whole experience sucks bigtime - the big underlying factor the author of the text forgot to mention is the liberalization and the price war between the airlines. As long as the people don't mind travelling like cattle and vote with their wallets for cattle drivers like Ryanair, airlines will be forced to cut corners where they can and make the experience more miserable.

I, for my part, have chosen already - I travel as little as I can (which is not little at all, but...), I refuse to take long flights in cattle class and am trying to maximize the value I get out of the miles I collect.
monamia monamia 11:29 29.03.2011

Re: Cattle class

short flights are already - as you wrote - enough terrible BUT long distance flights are for me the history.
bad history. unbearable one.thank you but no.
love very much the title of this blog, maybe just because i am calling IT the same, the same.
yugaya yugaya 11:51 29.03.2011

flight woes

*tnxy to SM-M I stole the link from
nim_opet nim_opet 21:03 29.03.2011


Not to be petty, but how many times has the author been the subject of "enhanced pat-downs" at the security check-point? In percentages.... Bitching about airlines, airline security and human rights infringed upon by the metal detectors/x-ray scatters has long become a favorite past time, and in America at least, another proof that Obama is a Muslim/Communist/Saddam's younger brother/whatever.

I have been flying, on average, 36 weeks a year, at least twice a week. That, for 2010 turns out to be around 100 individual flights (sometimes I have to fly connect), and almost as many individual screenings (connecting through a non-US airport en-route to the US requires additional screenings...with shoes off). I have been patted down ONCE!
Yes, I get annoyed by waiting in lines behind people whose pockets misteriously, after hearing 17 times that they should remove their wallets, are still stuffed with wallets, keys, Allen wrenches, and whose pants tend to fall down (apparently the awareness of the functional aspects of belts hasn't caught up yet), but I feel much safer knowing that it is slightly less likely someone will bring in a bomb in their carry-on. On a separate note: It's called a carry-on because you can carry it. If you can't lift it above your head, it does not belong in a cabin....there...venting a bit.
rade.radumilo rade.radumilo 21:14 29.03.2011

It was allways like that...

In the past you were treated as a VIP for traveling on the plane, and you paid a VIP price for that. People that could not afford the price traveled the Cattle Class on trains and ships.
It was Soviet Aeroflot that made flying buses before anyone else. Not all the passengers had seats, and the planes had holding bars like city public transportation. Farmers used to ferry pigs and chickens to the markets in Moscow.
Now days, the train is a comfortable way to travel across Europe, and I grew up on the ships and for me there is not a better way to travel.



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