As we edge ever closer to the second decade of the 21st century, I’m dumbfounded that we still don’t have instantaneous travel – à la Star Trek transporters – or at the very least, frequent supersonic international flights.
It must be said that while I absolutely adore visiting different places, I very much detest the process of getting there. Now, I don’t mind the odd high-speed train or road trip but when I intend on going further afield, flying becomes the only option, and we all know what a trying process it has become.
The drama begins with the necessity of arriving hours in advance to allow enough time to pass through the ever-increasingly levels of security. Frankly, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before we are forced to pass through the checkpoints completely naked with transparent carry-on luggage. Granted, it’s supposedly all for our own safety but I do find the restrictions a little ridiculous at times. For my part, I tend to think that if someone can highjack a plane with a pair of nail clippers and a bottle of shampoo then they probably deserve to have it.
Then, one must deal with the horrors of economy – unless you happen to be well off enough to afford seating in the higher classes…or are sleeping with a pilot to the same end. Long gone are the glamorous days of air travel, where people actually made an effort with their appearance, instead of looking like they just rolled out of bed after a heavy weekend. There also used to be enough legroom so that one didn’t run the risk of involuntary amputation. Obviously, I am aware it’s a business and that for the airlines to make a profit and keep fares relatively low they must cut corners. In saying that, there surely must come a point when they need to realise that they are still transporting people and not merely sentient cargo.
My desire for quicker ways to travel was heightened of late, after flying from Chicago to Paris with my husband and newborn son. Yes, it’s true I’ve become one of ‘those people’ who inflict their offspring on fellow travellers. Fortunately, unlike many other children I’ve encountered in the skies, ours was an absolute angel, pretty much sleeping and staying fuss-free for the entire journey. We were, however, more than a little dismayed to discover that even though we’d booked a bassinet for the trip, it wasn’t at all what we expected. Our airline, United, had for some unfathomable reason changed the design of these temporary carriers. Traditionally, the small crib hooked up to the bulkhead, allowing the parents the freedom to eat, sleep and move about without having to juggle a baby. Their newer version isn’t attachable and basically looks like a gym bag – one that you’re supposed to put on the floor in front of you, not that there’s even the space to do that. Honestly, it would’ve been easier to simply nurse him the entire time. I’m not sure if this is the case with other airlines but it certainly wasn’t very practical at all.
Happily, we shan’t be embarking on any more lengthy voyages in the near future, rather content to stay within our little corner of the world for a bit. This shall, of course, give the technology gods more than enough time to make my dreams of effortless travel a reality.
Come on then, get to it!