Are We There Yet? – Travel woes incite fears

Flying the friendly skies?

Jennifer Coxby Jennifer Cox

It seems like every week the airline industry gives us another reason to hate air travel, cancel our vacations and spend our money on some other extravagant luxury. New fees, air traffic controllers dozing on the job, new invasive pat-downs and security checks… vacations are relaxing and all, but when they begin and end with such stressful situations, it kinda puts a damper on things.


This year a slew of new fees were added to airline tickets – extras for carry-on’s, having an infant in your lap, internet “convenience” fees, and even an early check-in penalty were all enforced.


Then it recently hit radars (no pun intended) that yet another air traffic controller fell asleep while working (yep, there’s been more than one instance of this) – according to CNN it’s the sixth such incident this year that the FAA has disclosed. The latest incident occurred Wednesday morning at Reno-Tahoe International Airport in Nevada "when a controller fell asleep while a medical flight carrying an ill patient was trying to land," the Federal Aviation Administration said. He has since resigned.


And finally, people are up in arms after security officials gave a 6-year-old girl an intense pat-down at New Orleans' Louis Armstrong International Airport on April 5th. CBS reported yesterday that a Tea Party-linked Republican is introducing legislation to prohibit pat-down searches of minors without the consent and presence of a parent. What used to be a quick saunter through a metal detector has become an invasive (and scary) search with security officials.


When did flying somewhere on vacation come with so many woes? As I’ve mentioned in my columns, I often seek out alternative modes of transportation when I travel – the train is roomy and comfortable, and cruise ships are like staying on a floating hotel, with daytime port-stops and travel-time being at night while passengers sleep. However, there are still a few airlines left out there who are striving to make air-travel a little more tolerable, like Frontier Airlines, who are actually dropping some of their additional fees. There are also still great last-minute deals you can nab on travel websites like Expedia.


So don’t just roll over and give up on air travel altogether… at least not yet.


Bon Voyage,



Jenn Cox is a Montreal-based freelance journalist. Visit her website or email her at