Obviously I have been on a week long hiatus…Maui, Hawaii can do that to a person. The slow sunsets, the crashing waves, the sweet/bitter taste of a fresh pineapple…ahh…paradise.
But my recent travel has got me thinking: has travel lost all of its former glory? Condé Nast Traveler did a recent article on the changes that have occurred in flight-travel over the past 25 years or so, and it is pretty striking. I am a pretty frequent traveler, and over the past few years I’ve really noticed that I’m disliking it more and more. This is coming from a girl who had no intention of ever marrying or settling down and simply wanted to travel the world. Am I just getting old? Is it hard on me because it no longer holds any magic? How can it be so bad that it makes me want to stay put?
Don’t get me wrong, I am all about the cheap flight and viewing it as a glorified bus ride, but even buses (like Megabus or Bolt Bus between DC and NYC) seem to provide more comfort (free WiFi anyone?). And I’m certainly not one of those fashion snobs who gets upset that people are wearing sweats or pajamas to fly…yes, there are ways to be comfortable and fashionable at the same time, but there’s nothing about flying anymore that screams “look your best!” In fact, I prefer Southwest out of all of the airlines I frequent. To me, they make the now miserable experience just a little less miserable: great service, funny jokes, snacks (heaven forbid), and speedy service. I studied marketing and though people do enjoy being able to “customize” in today’s world, they still don’t mind a packaged deal to ease the decision process! I think this holds particularly true to flights because it was always presented to us as a packaged deal before…if we ever felt a need to customize in our flight travel, those feelings came and went long ago.
The Condé Nast Traveler article pointed out that we also recently lost our “dignity” when it comes to travel…in the form of TSA‘s full body scanners. For a while, there was so much hubbub about whether or not the scanners were going to far or not, but that didn’t seem to stop them popping up in every airport! I’ve now been through those scanners about 5-10 times at least and have just forced myself to not listen to all of the complaints about it. I purposely didn’t look into how I was “losing my dignity” because 1. I figured it couldn’t be that bad if the government was getting away with implementing it and 2. I really didn’t want to know the truth. Because I was writing this post, I decided to actually take a look at some of the articles and images from the past couple of years directly related to this scanner. HOLY SMOKES! If the images I found in my Google Image search are correct and not fabricated by media, then I feel incredibly, incredibly uncomfortable. I don’t even let my doctors see that much! This is absurd! And once they direct you into whatever line they’ve decided to put you in (because most security lines have one of the older machines that shows less and one of the newer machines that shows EVERYTHING), you can’t argue. There is absolutely NO WAY AROUND IT if you want to be a traveler. It’s sad…I am so sad right now. I am a very private person when it comes to my body and that flips me out…makes me feel sick.
Apparently, as of Monday, Europe has banned the use of this machine in its airports. Many concerns deal with not only privacy, but potentially cancer-causing radiation.
Because I can’t confirm for certain what images I found are real or not (though many were posted by major news sources), I’m just going to post this dramatic infographic created by another blogger:
Scared…by my own country. So that’s what that feels like?
Can any readers shed more light that might make me less upset…particularly in relation to what they can actually see or not?