Monday, January 04, 2010

Friendly skies in Newark

I have frequent flyer accounts with at least four airlines, but it's been so long since I've used three of them that I'd have to check their rules to see if any miles I once acquired are still valid. The one with the most miles banked, by far, is in no danger of expiration, because it's the one I still use for most of my travel: Continental. The reason for that is simple: I fly out of Newark, which is one of Continental's main hubs, and their flight options are plentiful for where I need to go and when I need to travel. (The last time I flew, however, has escaped me.)

So I do have some allegiance and preference for Continental born out of my frequency of travel and the dearth of delays or incidents I've had with the airline. (Contrast that with Northwest, which I flew maybe twice, but not since I was headed to South Bend in 2001 for my sister's college graduation and ended up renting a car and driving from Detroit, because I'd missed my connection. I arrived ahead of my luggage, which did take the next available flight.)

But I do know that people can quickly become frustrated or enraged when several minor tasks, incidents or delays mount up when flying. For me, I think the biggest irritant is the people around me getting louder and more demonstrative in their anger, which then causes me to become more agitated, though I tend to stew more silently. It may not be good for my blood pressure, but I like to think I hide it well from others.

When I read about the security breach at Terminal C at Newark yesterday that required the evacuation of the terminal and re-screening of all the passengers who had already been through the checkpoint, I wondered just how rowdy the scene was. Perhaps it was suppressed a bit by the fact that Continental allowed passengers to reschedule their flights without paying the rebooking penalty. (Another point for the airline, though had they tried to stick to their rules, they might've had a riot on their hands.) But I have to say I wasn't too surprised to see this video of one group of travelers breaking into song while waiting. in the endless lines to be screened again:

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