Travel… Can it get any worse?
This summer I took a trip to Atlanta, GA unfortunately I had to take a plane to get there. I am not one of those people who have a major fear of flying nor do I get sick on planes; but I do get bored very easily. Everything seemed to be running smoothly, security at the airport was quick and I was able to gate check my bag for free but of course travelling can never be that simple. I watched at the gate as the flight got delayed over and over because the plane needed to be cleaned thoroughly from the flight prior.
Finally the plane was boarded and I had a window seat and a personal on board TV calling my name. I was all settled in, I put my phone on airplane mode and started watching the plane TV. It is funny how the stress and time of travel can be minimized with a simple solution of an on board television. I also was going to get in flight wifi but that is only offered once the plane is in the air.
Of course with my luck there were engine issues and the plane needed to be powered down and checked. The airline required us to stay on board with our electronics off and the airline provided entertainment down. Now people on board including myself began to stress and become impatient. Nowadays, it is the norm to have constant means of entertainment. People always have something to keep themselves preoccupied and that something is media. My experience this summer was evidence that people today become very impatient and tense when without the stream of media. It is similar to the idea of a drug addict going through the first steps of withdrawal. People have become addicted and dependent on constant entertainment by the media. On board a plane without any connection to the outside world is an utter nightmare to the masses of today.
I sat for over an hour waiting and waiting for the airline to figure out what was wrong with the plane. I stared mindlessly out of the window with nothing to entertain me. I had not even thought to bring a hard copy of a book since I had counted on the in flight TV and wifi. Airlines today take advantage of these societal norms of the need for constant entertainment and connection to the world. Airlines can make themselves more elite by offering these in flight amenities and can jack up their prices per flight as well. In addition, in flight wifi is not cheap. Passengers pay per hour to have access to the wifi on board. Passengers, however, willingly pay for the overpriced wifi to avoid the feeling of disconnect from the world. Personally, whenever I fly I have the TV playing while I browse the web and use the wifi to enable my imessages and message my friends. Supplying those amenities makes me feel as if I am not travelling because watching tv and texting are exactly what I would be doing if I were home.
I was visiting my boyfriend for the weekend and I felt so disconnected from him without my phone that I went against the rules and turned my phone on just for a minute in order to check my messages. I am so attached my phone that I was unable to keep it off for an hour. Phones today are portals to everything. Most people, it seems, have smart phones therefore have access to the internet. The internet allows people across the world to stay connected.
The tension on the plane was heightened when we were told the issue that had been holding us up was that the airline forgot to check the gas tank and we needed to refuel. This caused quite a few upset customers that the flight attendants had to handle with apologies and free snacks. Such a mindless mistake would cause anger with or without access to the media while waiting; however, tensions were much higher due to the lack of preoccupation of TV or wifi and, in my opinion, caused the overwhelming outbursts of angry customers.
After the plane had finally been refueled it was time to take off. Once the plane TVs were turned back on, the tension melted away, people were calmed and preoccupied. Once in the air I felt major relief because I had access to the internet and the outside world. I no longer felt alone in a stressful situation, I had outlets to vent to and distract me.