Flying back home from my last cruise, I was very mindful of the United Airlines passenger ejection debacle that we all know too well by now. Thankfully, I was on Delta Air Lines myself, but even my full roundtrip was less than stellar, the outbound portion of which I described here.
The international return on KLM was far better, but what should have been our quick and easy Delta Connection from Los Angeles to San Diego, California was unfortunately delayed as well.
While it was collectively no means a United blunder, as I sat on the final flight, a little tune by the Beach Boys still decided to pop into my head: “Kokomo” and the specific lyrics of “We’ll get there fast, and then we’ll take it slow.”
At which time, I was reminded of the inherent ridiculousness of travel and leisure. We literally agree to stuff our bodies into the smallest economy seats possible within the already tight confines of an airplane for hours at a time, hurling our bodies at speeds of up to 500 miles per hour in order to get some tranquil, slow rest and relaxation on the backend.
In my case, I go from traveling at some of the fastest speeds known to humanity to traveling at some of the slowest speeds (all part of the intended experience) on cruise ships. The cruise manager on AmaWaterways’ AmaKristina even joked during our initial Adventures by Disney orientation that should we ever miss the riverboat, we need not worry because we could likely walk faster than it.
Admittedly, I love speed too. As young as twelve, I was piloting my very own Sea-Doo personal watercraft at nearly 60 miles per hour on the waters of Mission Bay, San Diego, and now I occasionally rent one on my cruises. But now mostly I sail the seven seas at a speed of around 20 or so knots, saving my top velocities for 30-plus-thousand feet in the sky.
The stark contrast is very real to this professional cruise traveler, and I’ll admit it: I love to cruise, but I hate to fly. Adding insult to injury is the fact that now we can be drug off a plane at a moment’s notice thanks to the not-so-shining example of one United, my all-time least-favorite airline.
This is what I wonder: When will we demand as much comfort and service of air travel as we expect of cruise travel?
The reality is if we got to our destination as slowly as a ship, we’d all have to be retired, taking extended world cruises, that the majority of us don’t have time for. So, yes, we do have to get there fast to take it slow, but can we get there, and equally important return home, without feeling like a third class citizen?
I know, I know. We’ve chosen the economy of scale in which we can only seemingly afford a ticket should we be willing to render ourselves a sardine in a tin can, but there surely must be a compromise between even economy plus and business class seating.
And in the meantime, we can certainly demand better than United is willing to provide as “service.” Even with its imperfections, I suggest Delta Air Lines for a better experience there.
So, just as I stand up for bigger showers on cruise ships (thank you Viking Ocean Cruises for answering the call), I also stand up for better airline seat comfort (read ones with a personal bubble) and better service (United need not apply).
We can all start to demand more with our wallets, folks. It’s not worth saving a couple of bucks on a bargain flight if we sacrifice basics in the process.