Here is a story about just how terrible the experience of flying has become. Once…not too long ago, the process of taking an air trip from a major airport, on a major airline, was one of life’s pleasures for those who could afford it…and that was a pretty broad segment of the population in the United States.
Not to belabor the fond clichés of those of us who remember the dressing-up in “air travel outfits” in order to look good while strolling the airport terminal, and creating a “Wow!” factor appearance for emerging from the tunnel into the waiting area–where sizeable groups of people awaiting the arrival of air-travelers. Then each little group would walk off down the concourse sharing snippets of exciting conversation about the flight. “Man, the sun is shining back in Albuquerque!” “Wow!–look at all the snow!” and “It was so rough that I really thought we were going down…”
Here’s the thing that has always griped me. Why don’t we have a decent cross country train system, like Europe and Mexico, Japan, the United Kingdom…etcetera, One of my most wistful dreams has always been about traveling on a glamorous fast-moving train, sipping fine wine in the club-car (my ideal of glamour) and watching scenery flash by. Yes, I know–a bit exotic, but hey–that’s me. And yes, I also know about Amtrack–which I hear is great once past Chicago or so, heading West.
Of course I DO know the reason we don’t have a cross-country railway system…and between you and me that is easy: the auto industry. Our society and economy has always been about making cars, advertising cars so that everyone must have at least one…and except for the East coast cities where there IS a decent train system (as far as I know,) efforts at installing North-South Corridor high-speed systems have been suppressed. At least that is the case here in Ohio.
I admit that my experience with train travel has been limited, consisting of a trip to California from Ohio when I was five-years -old; travel from Bremerhaven, Germany to Frankfurt in 1955 (courtesy of the U.S. Army); at least one ride to and from Boston when my son lived in Massachusetts. I think that is all..not counting some rapid-transit travel in Cleveland back in my commuting days, and assorted tourist travel in New York City, London, Mexico City and Quebec…. oh–and in New Orleans, the trolly from the city out to the university.