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12/13/2013

Dear FAA - Please Noooooooooooooooo

2003_love_actually_004That scene at the beginning and end of Love Actually when everyone is all smiles at London Heathrow Airport? Pure fantasy. In real life, Alan Rickman is delayed by four hours and does not see his family at all. The British PM, Hugh Grant, is diverted through El Paso and lands at London Gatwick. The hot girls from Wisconsin were thrown off their plane bound for UK because they were playing Words with Friends.

The angriest place in the world has become the airport. Everybody is just mad at everything. Once inside security, everybody hates everybody.

Travelers are irate because of the inherent hassle of mass transit that costs a fortune, and there is nothing worse than dealing with a fellow pissy traveler. That's not true - the happy traveler can be double worse because they want to talk to you even when you are pretending to read a book and have on headphones.

2892825666_aeee4109c1Baggage handlers are hacked because they handle bags in bad weather.
Ticket agents are ticked because the airlines ask them to do more on less salary.
The TSA agents are mad because people hate them as they; thanks a lot Bin Laden.
Gate agents play God and don't like dealing with self-important customers, so in turn they take every chance to screw them. "All we have left is a middle seat in the back of the plan - thank you; next!"
Flight attendants are PO'd because of poorly worded union contracts, and dealing with customers who treat them like scum. "That cup of water is $5.99."
Pilots are mad because this was not the job they thought they were taking; are barricaded in their cockpit against the threat of a consumer, and wish they were just flying boxes instead of people.

The whole thing is a recipe for anger, and a giant middle finger at everyone in our vicinity. We should all be handed noise-cancelling headphones the moment we clear security and return them when we leave the airport.

UnknownThis could only be getting worse. Now the good people at the FAA are seriously considering lifting the long-time ban on in flight phone calls.

On behalf of every traveler everywhere: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

In the pantheon of Bad Ideas, in flight cell phone calls ranks just behind "Weekend at Bernies 1" and "Weekend at Bernies 2".

Because most planes are now fitted with WiFi we can communicate with our loved ones at 35,000 feet, for $10.95 per session. Silently. Please let it remain that way. We just don't need to hear the person sitting three inches from us talking about how they have a boil on their bottom and it must be removed, or how mom and dad need to move into a retirement home.

A variety of factors have made air travel a day-long, stressful hassle that absolutely no one enjoys. If we must communicate with loved ones in air via our iPhone, do so by text or email. We get it - you're late, you're stressed, you're really important, and no one but you can comprehend the scope of your crisis. We don't want to hear it.

This ain't Love Actually.

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tengel@star-telegram.com

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