Airline travel ain’t what it used to be.
Back in the day (about fifty years ago), one dressed up in Sunday best, heels, hose (that’s stockings
for those who don’t know), hat and gloves for the exciting and thrilling chance to join a few hardy
souls making their way across country to see distant family or flying off to some exotic spot overseas.
Porters carried our luggage for us. Stewardesses treated us like royalty. Airline staff were always prompt
and efficient. Everyone had matching sets of three or four suitcases, too heavy to haul without help.
Small square vanity case filled with curlers and Revlon makeup. Elegance and comfort for the brave
souls about to commit their lives into the hands of the heroic (and invariably movie-star handsome) airline pilots.
And then there is today.
Have you seen the news lately? Stranded passengers, planes late or not arriving, missed connections, crowded
uncomfortable lounges, immensely long lines at security that snake back and forth causing endless hour-long
delays. And then you get the opportunity to remove belts, shoes, jewelry, sweaters and jackets while you are
frisked and scanned and x-rayed. And never mind the mile-long hikes (you’d better not wear heels) from one
gate to another. And through it all airline staff grimly struggling to maintain some semblance of civility in the face
of screaming, crying, begging, pleading passengers.
Abandon all hope, ye who enter here!
I had seen the news of canceled flights so I was worried. There were four of us headed out on a ten-day tour
to the fantastic Copper Canyon in northwestern Mexico. Flights from Houston to Dallas to Chihuahua with
changes in planes meant the possibility for delays and missed connections. That would trigger a domino
effect of lost luggage, lost hotels, lost tours, lost transfers, lost money. Surely we wouldn’t be that unlucky.
I checked again and again with American Airlines through the night and into the early, early morning.
Even as we arrived at the airport, three hours before our flight, everything seemed fine. On-time, it said.
Not to worry, I thought.
And then the gate changed. Stomach in knots. And the signs at the gate started lighting up. Departure at 10:25.
Nary an airplane in sight. Nope, departure at 11:55. Still no plane. No, now departure was 12:15. And then the
dreaded Departure at 1:45. Sure enough, a missed connection in Dallas. And a text from the airline offering
to book us on the 8:15 flight that night. No other option, cry, beg or whine though we might.
Four hour wait in Houston. I don’t have to remind you how horrible the seats in the lounges are. But the plane
finally arrived! Hallelujah! And four more hours wait in Dallas when we got there. But sure enough,
the 8:15 flight did get us into Chihuahua by 10 at night.
Blessings on them! Our hotel had our pick up waiting for us! And the wonderful Central Boutique hacienda hotel, with its
Ancient arches and elegant open patios, massive wooden doors that kept out the Apache attacks. And above us,
In the dark night sky, the sparkling lights of the Cathedral right next door.
Gracious, welcoming staff carried our luggage, showed us to our rooms, explained the amenities, and showered us
with care and concern. All we wanted was to crawl into bed! And how wonderful that feels. The horrors of air travel
were almost forgotten!