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The trouble with air travel

Long delays, lost bags and those endless lines at security — can flying get any more unpleasant than it already is?

I’m sure it can, and if the latest statistics are any indication, it probably will. Worse yet, it seems that neither the industry nor the government has the will or wherewithal to fix the situation.

So I guess it’s up to us, the flying public, to find solutions to what ails the air traffic industry. And if the mail I’ve received recently is any indication, you’ve given the subject plenty of thought. Some of the ideas are intriguing; others, potentially illegal, but they all speak to the frustration we feel when flying. Take them to heart — or with a large grain of salt — but here’s a look at what your fellow fliers are thinking:

Stranded passengers, stiff penalties
If you’re delayed longer then 30 minutes, a full refund and a free ticket for anywhere in the country. If [the delay] goes over the first hour, you get another free ticket anywhere in the world. Every 30 minutes that you’re still not off the ground, you get another ticket for anywhere in the world.

OK, but if the airline’s having that much trouble getting you off the ground, do you really want become a member of their frequent flier program?

Put us on the plane for free and if we get where we wanted to go ... at a reasonable time, then we should pay when we get off. It would be like a tip.

Poor tippers are one thing; it’s the guy who can never find his wallet when the bill comes due that worries me.

The only way out of a jam may be to offer a bribe to airport personnel. I've done this when the airline canceled our flight: it was delayed, so we wouldn't have made the scheduled connection A bribe, plus a generous tip to the taxi driver who sped us to an alternative airport 50 miles away, rescued us. Now I never travel on any U.S. airlines without a plan B and some extra bribe money.

Here, let me help you with those bags.

Raise fares by $50–$75 per round-trip ticket (or more across the board) and many of the problems that plague the airlines will disappear.

Hey, don’t yell at me. I’m just the messenger.

Extra bags, added fees
Personally, it’s the weight that matters, not the number of bags. At check in, each passenger [should] step on a scale with checked and carry on luggage and be assessed their exact ticket price.

You wouldn’t be a skinny person who travels light by any chance, would you?

Perhaps it's not [politically correct] to say so, but it may be simpler to just charge the ladies more. Are they not the principal culprits?

Ummm, you are talking about luggage, right?

Tickets could be coded by length of travel and destination and reasonable baggage allowances could be noted on the ticket confirmation. The longer your trip, the more bags you are allowed.

Better call Airbus — we’re gonna need some bigger planes.

As an alternative to having to pay for a second bag you can put on multiple layers of shirts and pants. Then you can waddle down the narrow aisle, bumping into everyone along the way. Then you can squeeze into the small seat and infringe on the space of the person sitting next to you!

And think of the time you’ll save if you’re going skiing or scuba diving!

I suppose they could offer a guarantee — checked bag: $59. Guaranteed arrival with you or a full refund on your airfare.

Would somebody please lose my bag? I could use the money.

If we have to pay for luggage, can we expect to have someone in baggage claim who will reimburse [us] for scuffed, torn, broken luggage as well as missing wheels? We will entrust and pay them for handling our luggage. Perhaps a small claims court in baggage claim next to the car rental counters?

Judge Judy, call your service.

Why not charge for carry-on bags as well as checked bags? Not only would this speed up the security check process, but would also speed up the boarding process.

Like I said, I’m only the messenger.

Screening solutions
Have “free zone” flights available for us "risk takers." No limitations whatsoever like local buses: no search, no waiting, open all doors to the plane for entrance and exit.

You may want to make sure the “pull cord for next stop” feature is disabled before buckling up.

Tiered security lines, broken down by service level estimates: 1) excruciatingly slow, 2) slow, 3) moderate, 4) fast, 5) exceptional. Tiered charges would of course apply.

6) They’ll pretend they didn’t even see you.

Fly naked.

What do you know? Turns out there are worse things than long delays, lost bags and those endless lines at security.