POLL: Are You Fed Up With Flying?

The Austin Business Journal says that a new survey shows Americans are fed up with flying and have been avoiding it — and hotels and restaurants are suffering.

Air travelers, tired of inefficient security screening, flight cancellations and delays, avoided some 41 million trips over the past year and that has cost the national economy $26 billion, a survey from the Travel Industry Association reveals.

The survey, conducted by polling firms Peter D. Hart Research Associates and The Winston Group, says the lack of air travel cost airlines more than $9 billion in revenue, hotels nearly $6 billion and restaurants more than $3 billion. Federal, state and local governments also lost more than $4 billion in tax revenue because of reduced spending by travelers.

“Many travelers believe their time is not respected and it is leading them to avoid a significant number of trips,” says Allan Rivlin, a partner at Peter D. Hart Research Associates. “Inefficient security screening and flight cancellations and delays are air travelers’ top frustrations.”

Are you actually avoiding air travel because of the security hassle? Are you avoiding it at all?

Less flying costs American economy $26 billion, survey says [Bizjournals]
(Photo: flyingember )

Comments

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  1. No, I don’t fly enough. When I do, there are no other alternative options to get me where I need to go. So I just deal with it, I guess.

  2. zentec says:

    I’ve been fed-up with flying for the past four years. If the trip is within a six to eight hour drive, I’ll take the train. If no train service is available, I’ll drive.

    I avoid it because of surly airline workers, an utter contempt for the customer and TSA workers who are there because they failed to pass the entry exam at McDonald’s.

  3. phil28 says:

    No longer do I fly from my home in San Diego to Las Vegas. The 4:30 drive is more pleasant than the airport hassles, particularly the long security lines leaving LV. And when I fly overseas I now always drive to LA and avoid the short flight to LA or SFO for the international flights.

  4. jamesdenver says:

    What kind of poll is that? how blandly generic.

    Do you like puppies? Yes or No!

    Yes I fly. Despite the process its still cool to sit in a plane, sit for 8-12 hours and wind up in a foreign country where I can see new people and cultures.

    As far as traveling around my home in the west? Car works best…

  5. Dillenger69 says:

    I’ve been fed up with flying since they started keeping non-ticketed people off the concourse.
    The shoes, lighter, and liquid bans have pretty much driven me to only fly when I absolutely have to.
    That’s been a grand sum total of 2 times since 2001.

  6. monkey33 says:

    I know when I visit my mom, it doesn’t take too much longer to drive (10 hours). Once you add up the travel times to and from the airports, the security screening times, and the actual flight times, it takes about 8 hours to fly to see her.

  7. Anything under 10-13 hours, I’ll drive (most of the eastern US). I save flying for Europe or the Western US, out of necessity.

    But my opinion has not changed on this in years–I’ve always disliked the airlines.

  8. akede2001 says:

    @cedarpointfan: When I need to fly, it’s usually to visit family.. in which case, my two brothers out here would be going with. Rather than coughing up $500 in tickets each, we just drive now. It may be 2,300 miles each way but that’s still much cheaper than flying three people, round trip when you can rotate drivers around and never stop driving.

  9. DeepFriar says:

    Kind of a necessary evil, as Amtrak is even worse and gas prices are prohibitive at best.
    Still, I make a concerted effort NOT to fly.

  10. Anks329 says:

    it just depends what is cheaper. If I can get a cheap train ticket that will get me where I need to go in a decent amount of time I’ll take that over a double as expensive airplane ticket

  11. eelmonger says:

    @zentec: I’ve recently discovered the magic of trains myself: they’re cheap, don’t have crazy rules, you get your own power outlets, and have plenty of leg room. The only downside is they take a bit longer, but if you factor in the “get to the airport X hours ahead of time” and the time spent collecting your luggage post-flight it’s actually not that bad. Flying is still the best way to get anywhere further than a state or so away though. The dozen or so extra hours I’d spend in a car are worth the security hassles to me.

  12. joemono says:

    We have to fly to visit family in Michigan. But we’re eventually going to move back to the midwest and I can’t wait to never get on a fucking plane again.

  13. savvy9999 says:

    I’ve avoided flying lately more on the basis that planes, their seats, and airports in general are freakin’ filthy.

    Every time I fly I catch a nasty cold or some other virus, as well as feel totally disgusting.

    Air travel has been dumbed down to be just like going on the subway. Which is fine, subways are critically useful too, but I’m not paying hundreds of dollars to feel like I’m in one in the air.

  14. BelBivDevolkswagen says:

    Trains rule – I just wish our rail network was more extensive so I could avoid flying all together…

  15. krispykrink says:

    Yep! I stopped flying when the TSA started dumping old white granny’s from their wheelchairs for “extra screening”.

  16. Gev says:

    Even with gas prices as high as they are (and probably going even higher) my destination would have to be more than 10-12 hours driving time away before I consider flying.

  17. silver-spork says:

    I’ll now take the train to Boston from Wilmington instead of flying out of PHL. Luckily, Amtrak service on the east coast (esp. Boston to DC) isn’t the disaster it is elswhere.

  18. malraux says:

    Last time I flew, the airplane flew to the wrong airport. And then, because we were at the wrong airport, the airline agents weren’t around, so we had to sit on the plane for 30 minutes while someone called up the employees to come back in. And then we had to sit at the airport for 4 hours while they decided what to do (fly the 15 minutes to the right airport or get a bus for the hour and a half drive). So Northwest Airlines, I’ll never fly on one of your planes again.

  19. ARP says:

    I’m more relative about it…

    A few years ago, I could fly from Chicago to San Francisco for $200 round trip and Chicago to New York for $129 round trip. Back then, it was worth the hassle and (minor) delay because of the cheap fares.

    Now, I’m not sure it’s worth being treated like crap, getting delayed 2-3 hours (average) AND paying 2-3X what it cost a few years ago.

    My view is that you can treat me like crap if I can get a dirt cheap fare. But if I’m paying a lot of money, I should be treated better and get to my destination on time.

    Crazy, huh?

  20. monkey33 says:

    Really, where are you all living to get train service? From Kansas City to Chicago, its $10 more to fly than it is to take Amtrak.

  21. Skiffer says:

    Yes, of course we’re all fed up with flying – and I avoid it when I can.

    But,
    “avoided some 41 million trips over the past year and that has cost the national economy $26 billion”

    How do they figure that’s cost the economy anything? Unless we’re talking foreign tourists coming to the States, then that money was spent elsewhere.

    Stop the pity for the poor old airlines – if an industrial sector can’t compete anymore, it’ll whither and die.

  22. MissPeacock says:

    Every summer I go visit my best friend in NYC. Probably not going to happen this year with the high prices and the fact that all six times that I flew last year, my flights were delayed by hours or totally canceled, leaving me stranded twice overnight.

    No thanks, airlines. No thanks.

  23. ohiomensch says:

    I have a 6 hour rule (which is stretchable to 8 depending on the length of stay. My feeling is, if you can drive there in the same amount or less time than flying, I just drive. 40 mins to airport, 2 hrs before flight, length of flight, 1/2 hr to get checked baggage, 1/2 or more to rent a car, vs. 5-7 hr drive and not having to rent a car. Since I am within 6 hrs of Chicago, Detroit, Toronto, DC/Baltimore, Indianapolis, etc. I really need to fly when going further than the Mississippi.

  24. theblackdog says:

    It’s not so much that I am fed up with the airlines, it’s that ticket prices have gotten expensive enough (even on Southwest) that I can’t afford to fly as often as I would like.

  25. grebby says:

    @Skiffer: Agreed. Are they honestly claiming that consumers threw $26 billion in the trash rather than spend it on airlines and hotels? It just went somewhere else – most likely gas and groceries.

  26. Trains are great, if you’re lucky enough to live on their sparse routes.

    So Chicago and the northeastern seabord are perfect, but most of the nation is SOL. Just check out Amtrak’s pdf route map–Chicago is the hub in the spokes.

  27. eelmonger says:

    @monkey33: I’m in central Florida, to go to south Florida it costs like $30, whereas flying costs like $70+ and driving costs like $50 (excluding wear and tear on my aging car). The best part about taking a train over driving for me is that I can get work done on my laptop, so it’s either 4 hours of staring at the road, or 6 hours of being productive/being entertained.

  28. humphrmi says:

    A lot also depends on how many you have traveling, at least as far as comparing airline fares to driving.

    For me, I’ve got a family of five. My upcoming trip to Dallas is about a 15 hour drive, for about $450 in gas. Airfare for all five of us is $1665 (AA, economy, about $333 per person). Which one is the obvious clear winner for me?

    But that’s not actually why we are driving. It’s the aforementioned hassles, getting kids through airports, airlines that have no respect for the value of my time, etc. Avoiding that is worth the drive. Saving money is just a bonus.

  29. WBDFQ says:

    I fly constantly for work and I’m pretty much fed up, at least as far a North American carriers go. I fear if oil keeps going up however, none of us will have to worry about flying much longer. It’ll be the dominion of the rich once again.

  30. bonzombiekitty says:

    I don’t fly that often – maybe once a year. So I’m not fed up with it. But every flight I have been on has been fine minus a couple delays due to weather. The only major delay I had was due to 9-11 (stuck an extra week in the UK).

  31. mantari says:

    It really was a tough call between driving 700 miles (10 hours) or flying. I mean really tough. I mean, even all the inconveniences aside, there is a large element of risk. All it takes is a spot of bad weather, my flight is canceled, and I’m stuck at the airport with hundreds of others and I am at the mercy of surly agents. Wheeee!

  32. bdgbill says:

    I am based in Montreal and now drive to any destination 700 miles or less from me. This will get me as far as DC in the South and Buffalo to the SW.

    This is the only way I can acuratly predict my arrival time to within 4 hours.

    The airlines are dying of their own stupidity. Southwest, Jet Blue, Virgin and other modern airlines will do just fine. Delta, American, US Airways, Northwest etc are too old and too set in their ancient cultures to adapt to new business realities. These old dinosaurs need to die and be replaced by something that works.

    Personally, I hope the price of flying quadruples. This should discourage my employer from making me endure two days of flying to attend a four hour meeting.

  33. GearheadGeek says:

    We were faced with this very choice recently. My partner doesn’t really like long car trips, but at the cheapest it was going to cost more for *ONE* of us to fly for our memorial-day trip than it cost to put gas in the car for the round trip, and we’d still have needed a car at our destination. So, we did the 9+ hour drive each way through less-than-stimulating country (through the TX Panhandle to Alburquerque.) We got to take one of the dogs (saving on boarding) and had his car to drive there (avoiding car rental.) It was the absolute distance limit for a 3-day weekend but more economical and less stressful than flying.

  34. vladthepaler says:

    I usually take the train, even for longish journeys (1000 miles). Granted it’s pretty much guaranteed to not be on time, but at least the employees are courteous and I don’t have to empty my pockets to get on. It’s as though I’m a customer, not a criminal. Imagine…

  35. MeOhMy says:

    It goes beyond a mere “yes” or “no,” but for the most part when considering travel for the past couple of years, destinations that don’t require air travel have appeared much more attractive to me both in terms of cost and not having to deal with air travel shenanigans from both government and airline people and policies.

  36. Personally, I’m getting ready to dump 1600 pounds of carbon into the atmosphere on some upcoming flights.

    Is flying annoying? Sure. But there are worse things and I have a voucher to use, damnit.

    @BelBivDevolkswagen: I am in constant envy of the other parts of the world with well-developed rail systems. It sure is nice to travel without a virtual strip search.

  37. csdiego says:

    I canceled a planned trip to Europe this spring because flights were too expensive. I did fly halfway across the country to join family at the beach, but that was nonstop.

    I’ve been staying away from connecting flights since 2001 when security first tightened after 9/11. The only non-nonstop flights I’ve taken since then were in 2005 for a family wedding when nonstops weren’t available and in 2006 for work. We have driven twelve hours each way lots of times to visit family members rather than take a three-hour flight that requires a connection.

  38. P_Smith says:

    I see the house of cards is showing signs of collapse.

  39. jamesdenver says:

    @eelmonger:

    Living out west (aside from the California Surfliner route,) Amtrak is completely impractical.

    I have relatives that a trip between Denver and SLC is a hop over a few mountains and you’re there in a couple hours.

    The west is BIG. Unless you have plenty of time – or your trip is SEEING the west rather than getting from one city to another – flying is the only way to go.

  40. TheSPH says:

    I’ve only flown once before 9/11, and twice after. The airline industry is a disaster. While trains can often be delayed, they are much more relaxing and productive — the ability to watch movies, meet people and see the US is far worth the extra time involved.

    Any drive less than 3 hours doesn’t even matter to me, and 6 to 9 hours straight is no problem. I’m even considering taking a boat to Europe because the airline industry is in such shambles.

  41. I’m fed up, not with the procedure, but with the prices. I can go without peanuts and sit in a small area for 3-4 hours no problem. Taking off my shoes is stupid, but I can cope. It’s all worth it to get to where I’m going.

    I don’t like paying $300+ for the privilege of going 500 miles. It’s 2008, efficiency of air travel should be peaking, not waning. I don’t like getting nickeled and dimed. I want to pay a reasonable fare and get to where I’m going. End of story.

  42. iMike says:

    Yes. I actually switched jobs so I could travel less.

  43. Oh, and rail travel? I’ve got a finger for whoever pushed the U.S. away from rail travel and towards an all-car system. In much of Ohio, they’ve gone so far as to remove the railroad tracks, so now there’s years of building before any sort of rail system could get moving.

  44. evslin says:

    I’m not necessarily fed up with it, but then again I’ve only flown twice in the last 8 or so years. FWIW, I flew out to Vegas for Memorial Day weekend through Southwest and the trip was flawless both ways. No problems with security at the airports, no “weather” delays, nothing. If things are as bad as some folks say they are I must have just been incredibly lucky or something.

  45. davebg5 says:

    Mrs. DaveBG5 travels a bit for work. Normally, when she’s got a trip out to CA I’ll meet her out there for a long wekeend where we can reconnect w/some friends we have on the left coast. Not this summer. I find the flying experience so distateful these days (not to mention expensive) that I refuse to fly anywhere unless it is for a full week-long trip, as I find that I now need an extra day or two to decompress, unwind and relax on a vacation thanks to the craptasic treatment that I get from the airlines.

  46. Machina says:

    I’m never flying again, at least if I can help it. Southwest was HORRIBLE to me, and left me and my girlfriend to sit in the airport all night because of a mistake they made, and them refusing the put us up in a hotel until the next flight came in almost 24 hours later.

    Take a train or drive. At least with trains you KNOW they will run late and don’t have nazi security.

  47. V-effekt says:

    I used to fly 16 times a year with 3-4 international legs. This year, I only have 1 flight booked. The hassle and numerous cancellations made it not worthwhile.

  48. TechnoDestructo says:

    Ever since my first (pre 9-11) trip to Asia.

    It is just a night and day difference. It was even then. Of course, it’s worse now. So if I can drive it, I won’t fly it.

    Airports:
    You can get money changed at rates comparable to banks.

    Here, it’s usually Travelex or nothing, where their rates are like 20 percent worse, PLUS they charge…what was it, a 7 dollar fee? So if you’ve got less than a few hundred bucks in foreign currency, you may as well just keep it as a souvenir.

    They don’t price-gouge you on EVERYTHING there. A big mac (or whatever) costs the same a Osaka-Kansai or Seoul-Incheon as it does in Osaka or Seoul. The convenience stores (yeah, they actually have those, not just a soda cooler in the book store) charge the same as the ones in town. Even inside the security area prices don’t double like they do in the US.

    Faster baggage return. I’ve never had a bag lost anywhere, but I’ve also seen fewer disturbing signs of lost luggage there.

    Generally, more stuff to do at the airport, and a cleaner, more pleasant environment. (in Japan and Korea at least, my trip to China was an exception) There are some US airports that can compete on this, however.

    Immigration is better organized. They actually have pens, forms, and places to write conveniently located well before the queue area. It also tends to go a bit more smoothly.

    Customs…well, most of the time I’ve just been able to walk right through customs with no one checking me. I’m not sure that is ultimately a good thing, but it is convenient.

    All the security theater bullshit that has been enacted is either because of flights to the US, or applies only to flights to the US. They make sure to point this out on the signage.

    Airlines:
    Better food

    No surly flight attendants (I’m looking at you, United). No flight attendants too obese to fit through the aisle without ass cheeks brushing up against passengers on both sides (ahem…United). Also no old/ugly flight attendants, but ultimately I’m not sure that policy is entirely productive.

    Fewer fees

    The down side is higher prices, but most of that is made up for by fewer gotcha fees.

    Actually, yeah, most of the unpleasantness is in the airports.

    I have flown on: JAL, KAL, Asiana, ANA, and I forget shich chinese airline, but I think it was China Southern
    To or from: Chitose, Narita, Osaka-Kansai, Seoul-Incheon, Nagoya, and Shenyang; Sea-Tac, San Francisco, and Las Vegas McCarran

    The only airport I’d like as much as any in Asia if it were run more like ones in Asia would be Phoenix Sky Harbor.

    @Michael Belisle:
    That isn’t even the half of it. You can leave your car at home. Walk to the train station, take a train to the main station, be on a bullet train 10 or 15 minutes after that. No driving out to an airport on the edge of town, no worrying about ground transportation, because you’re integrated into the ground transportation system (some high speed systems even use the same rails once they get into the city: Korea). You have more leg room. The air is better. It’s quiet. The view is far more interesting (see one sea of clouds, seen them all. Doesn’t compare to the countryside passing by 50 feet away at 200 mph.)

  49. TechnoDestructo says:

    @V-effekt:

    Oh yeah…I completely forgot the fact that…you go through all that rigamarole, and at some airports, you either add on enough time in ADDITIONAL delays that you may as well have just driven, or you don’t get to fly at all! It’s like winning the lottery…Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery!”

  50. cornish says:

    These days I pretty much drive anywhere within 700 miles.

  51. nsv says:

    If I’m going 2000 miles or less, I’ll drive. The hours of staring at dotted lines on the road with occasional breaks for gas are much preferable to getting to the airport, paying a huge sum for parking, fighting with the ticket counter folks and TSA, and getting stuck on a hot, smelly delayed plane that boarded on time. Bonus: no need to rent a car when I get there.

    TSA has let me board with a knife (I forgot it was in my pocket!) and other items I forgot about that it thinks are weapons, but they made damn sure I didn’t bring my toothpaste with me. If this is security, I’ll be in the car.

  52. I’ve mostly given up flying in-U.S. except to get way out west (which fortunately I don’t have to do very often). If I find a really good ticket price such that it’s about the same as the cost of gas, I dither and dither and usually decide as much as I prefer to sit still and read a book instead of driving for 10 hours, it’s actually going to be easier to drive 10 hours.

    And when I go to Europe to visit family or be touristy, I fly European carriers. Like I don’t actually want to GO if I can’t fly European carriers. The difference between flying BA or Aer Lingus or KLM and AA transatlantically is enormous.

  53. ninjatoddler says:

    Flying used to be fun but now I just prefer to drive if possible and fly only when it is absolutely necessary.

    To the admins: You might want to fix that poll section where it says “NO” and push it to a new line.

  54. m1k3g says:

    F*ck the airlines. We decided that we are not flying any more than is absolutely necessary, like a business trip. When you do fly you get screwed on the ticket price, screwed into an uncomfortable cattle car, screwed on the baggage (if it doesn’t get lost, of course), screwed by the TSA, screwed by the car rental places, screwed by the hotels when you reach your destination. Is it possible to make traveling any more unpleasant?

  55. humphrmi says:

    @Eyebrows McGee:

    The difference between flying BA or Aer Lingus or KLM and AA transatlantically is enormous.

    Spot on, I wasn’t clued into this until two years ago when my company changed preferred carriers for a particular route from AA to BA and on another route from AA to Lufthansa. Their (the European carrier’s) business class cabins and amenities and services are more akin to AA’s first class services. And they gear their services to what Biz class customers want, that is to waste as little time away from home as possible. AA doesn’t seem to understand that.

  56. b612markt says:

    Flying is horrific. It doesn’t matter what fancy airline or cheap airline you use – you still have to battle traffic to get to the airport, go through security hell, pack 3 oz liquids and be prepared for your flight to be canceled and do all that again the next day.

    I drove 3200 miles this month and am going to drive 2700 next month – just to avoid flying. It’s actually cheaper than flying and renting a car.

    I’m self employed, so time isn’t the most crucial factor.

  57. eblack says:

    I haven’t really had any experiences lately that I would term as outright ‘bad.’ It’s just general inconvenience.

    I don’t have TSA horror stories because I cleanse my bags and person of anything even remotely sharp or liquid before I go through, leaving absolutely nothing objectionable.

    Flight cancellations and delays haven’t hit me that hard. I just go get drunk in the nearest airport bar, or go play computer games on my laptop. Not like I’d be doing anything different at home.

    This is just for business travel of course.

    Point being, even without being cavity searched or treated rudely by airline personnel, I still avoid flying because it’s annoying to go through all of that.

  58. lawnmowerdeth says:

    Yep, haven’t flown since 2005. The 500 mile trip to see the parents takes just as long to fly now as it does to drive. It’s cheaper to drive now even with gas prices so high. And in the car I can have all the liquids, knives, and lighters as I want.

  59. jamesdenver says:

    I’m not self employeed (barring my free lance stuff) so time is a concern. I’m not going to spend a DAY getting to where I want to be.

    Despite the misery of the airport experience I still think airplanes are cool, love aviation, and most importantly am capable of ignoring what’s going on around me.

    I fly frequently enough that I know my home airport well, when its busy, the lesser used checkpoints – and am savvy at packing.

    I have a separate travel bag with already stocked 3oz bottles, plus EARPLUGS, my iPod and books I work on.

    I can take the bus to the airport, read in line, sit for 5 hours in coach and its STILL faster than driving.

    If you have your shit together and KNOW HOW to travel (including knowing alternate flights, schedules, and hacks in contingencies) flying isn’t that bad

    james [www.futuregringo.com]

  60. dragonfire81 says:

    Unfortunately with me on the east coast and my dad on the west, I have to fly sometimes. But my trips are sparingly made and I try to avoid flying to all other destinations. The past three times I’ve flown, I’ve been screwed by United each time with delays and other nonsense. I don’t need it.

    The future is in rail, if someone stood up and started investing money in the infrastructure, the people would come.

  61. kc2idf says:

    I have been for a long time… at least three or four years.

    If I need to travel for work, I try my best to arrange that the travel be done by train. Yes, Amtrak is pretty bad in many ways, but there is a lot less bullshit in getting from point A to point B. Good points on Amtrak from my perspective:

    There is a train station in my home city, but the nearest airport is in the next city over.

    I can get to the train station (in my own city or the one two cities over) by public transit if I want. Can’t do that to the airport.

    Security checks consist of confirming my identity and showing my ticket. No random anal probes like flying.

    Seats are comfortable, business class is cheap, and there are AC outlets — real AC outlets, not something needing a special adaptor — in various places in the train, and one at every seat in business class.

    Food is available on most trains (unless the trip is less than 2h30). It’s not the greatest, but it is, at least, predictable.

    I can use my cell phone.

    I can use my aircard.

    I can use my ham radios.

    All of this is enough to make me not car that Amtrak isn’t so great. However bad Amtrak is, flying is worse.

  62. ARP says:

    @Juice Box Hero: Amen. I keep saying we need to invest in regional high-speed rail to make trains a viable option for regional travel (I think we’re still SOL for long range). It’s obvious our subsidies of the airlines for this is not paying off. Take that money and put it into high-speed rail. That will do a number of things: 1) Reduce gas consumption 2) reduce traffic at airports (those puddle jumper regional jets take up just as much space and time in the sky and on the ground as the big jets); 3) create competition with airlines; 4) potentially lower prices as airlines focus on long haul.

    Chicago, East Coast and West Coast are ideal locations. For example, Chicago could feed 2nd tier midwest cities (St. Louis, Indianpolis, Minneapolis, Madison, etc.). Would you pay $150 RT to take a 3 hour train from Chicago to St Louis instead of flying? I sure would.

  63. @phil28: I’m a fellow San Diegan that does exactly the same for Vegas and for international travel. Any time I can skip a short segment, or for any travel under 6 hours driving time, I save time and money by just getting in the car. Domestically, I _always_ try and fly Southwest anywhere I go, as they have been by far the most reliable carrier for my very frequent business travel.

    @Juice Box Hero: Then you can give the finger to the entire US population, who as a result of their independent nature and relative wealth, embraced the personal automobile as their preferred mode of travel. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  64. The European travel mode I wish we could emulate is not the prevalence of high-speed rail but rather the Autobahn. If you’ve ever done any highway driving in Germany, you know how wonderful it is to cruise on roads where other drivers adhere to driving rules and courtesy and on which you can very safely do a 400 mile drive in 4 hours. Sadly, American citizenry seems to lack the attitude necessary to make such highways anything but death traps. The difference between driving around Boston and Berlin boggles the mind.

  65. mythago says:

    I fly because I have to for business (I commute by plane more than car at this point). But yes, I am completely fed up.

  66. dugn says:

    Same – haven’t flown since 2003. Costs too much. Bought all family members webcams and told ‘em to ring us with a video call on Messenger if they want to see the grandkids. We tell people it’s too much trouble for us to fly – but it’s the cost that’s the bigger killer for us.

  67. sarahandthecity says:

    i have free flight privileges and i still find that i’d rather pay for gas and drive when i make the houston-dallas trek (~4.5 hours). with all the airport hassles and waiting the time is about the same, and my seat is roomier and no one makes me turn off my ipod.

  68. MercuryPDX says:

    I’m living on the west coast, with family on the east coast. I’m fed up with flying, and as romantically rustic as a cross-country train ride sounds, spending 3+ days one way on a train is not how I’d like to use my vacation time.

    I think we’ll just “physically” see each other less, and be fine with it.

  69. Starfury says:

    The last time we did a trip from the SF Bay Area to LA we drove. The cost of flying was WAY more than gas for the car plus parking. I figured it only took a few extra hours overall compared to flying anyway with all the lines/delays we’d have to deal with.

    Now with gas here around $4.10 we’re not driving anywhere we don’t have to and we’re also making less side trips. Air travel is out of the picture for a long time; same with any long road trips.

  70. mariser says:

    I am *so* over flying.
    I’m planning a trip to Boston later this summer. it would take 3 different flights to get there, assuming no delays or cancellations (as if) it takes ~18 hours.
    by car: ~ 15 hours.

  71. lincolnparadox says:

    Here’s the formula I like to use when deciding to fly:

    Trips to the airport X4 + Flight-time + Layover time + 3 hours (security time). So for a trip to visit my folks in NY, that would equal about 11 hours, if everything goes smoothly. To drive that same distance is 12 hours and about $500 cheaper if the whole family is going (even with the craptastic gas prices). I just put a big circle on Google Maps. If I’m within the circle (or close, I rent a car from Enterprise (unlimited interstate mileage) and drive drive drive.

  72. e-gadgetjunkie says:

    We’re going to Disney World for our honeymoon and I’m totally up for driving the 15 hours instead of taking a plane. I really don’t want to stress of getting through security and all that crap at the beginning and end of our vacation.

  73. bohemian says:

    I will not fly ever again unless it is urgent and I am left no other option. I hated flying in the early 90′s. They had already crammed more seats in making flying a torture session and the flight staff was surley back then. The stuff I hear and the potential of some TSA thug misinterpreting something and landing you in some sort of lock up is just too much risk for me. The distinct chance of ending up stuck on the tarmac forced to stay in your seat and denied food or bathroom breaks again, with the threat of federal law enforcement if you don’t cooperate doesn’t help either. Why on earth would I pay a minimum of $500 for that kind of abuse?
    I will either drive, take the train or some other mode of transit. It is 3+ hours to either nearby Amtrak station but it is still a viable option for a long trip. Seriously a 26 hour Amtrak trip from the BFE to DC sounds WAY better than a 3-6 hour flight.
    Were planning a trip to Europe in the future. Were going to take the QM2 rather than fly. It is actually cheaper.

  74. bohemian says:

    I have to say I am floored by how many people really want more rail service. I thought I was the only one.

  75. jamesdenver says:

    re: Seriously a 26 hour Amtrak trip from the BFE to DC sounds WAY better than a 3-6 hour flight.
    Were planning a trip to Europe in the future. Were going to take the QM2 rather than fly. It is actually cheaper.

    I’m jealous. Seriously. I have five weeks of vacation and STILL will not blow 2 days en route each way watching corn to get to New York or Montreal for a weekend or 3-5 day trip.

    sorry.

  76. Heresy Of Truth says:

    I am bit neurotic about it. I hear horror stories for specialized food needs, but could deal with that easily if I had to. Add in the security theater fiasco, and I’m not flying short of an emergency. I’ll take the train, drive, hitchhike, or a boat. If I have to fly internationally, I’ll hop over the border to Canada, and go from there.

    I have non American friends that won’t even come here anymore. I have to drive to Canada to see them, because the security theater crap bothers them enough that they will never come closer than that.

  77. Nakko says:

    I have to fly – A LOT – for my job. I can not stand it. I am seriously going to ask my employer that, next time I have to visit one of our satellite offices, just let me take the weekend, and I’ll ride my motorcycle on out to Chicago or Seattle or wherever. I’d be a much happier dude. Frickin’ hate being stuck in that little seat; frickin’ hate the degradation of having to take my shoes off in public. How is the DHS not ashamed!!

  78. Heresy Of Truth says:

    I forgot to add my vote for more rail options. There has got to be a better way to do it than Amtrak’s way.

  79. motojen says:

    I have to fly next week and I’m dreading it. If there was any possible way to avoid it I would. I’ve gone from about four flights a year to no flights at all in the past three. It’s just not worth the hassle of being checked for nipple bombs and other ridiculous shite every time.

  80. dohtem says:

    Last time I flew it was out of SFO. We were all in line with our shoes and belts in our hands, and somehow I got singled out to walk into this phone-booth looking machine. I was asked to stand still while it suddenly sprayed a fine mist on me. Scared me shitless. The other passengers were wondering wtf? I still don’t know why I had to do that but isnt that the fun? These days we dare not ask the TSA why they treat us like they do.

    Anyone know what that machine did?

  81. csdiego says:

    @Heresy Of Truth: The problem with rail in the US is that we’re doing things backward: the tracks are privately owned and the government is running passenger service. The reason for monster delays on Amtrak is that the freight railroads always have the right-of-way and have no reason to be nice to Amtrak because Amtrak has no alternative route.

    The ideal would be for government to own or regulate the tracks and for private firms to compete to offer service, the way it is now with the interstate highways and bus companies. But, good luck to Uncle Sam trying to nationalize the tracks or duplicate the current rail network.

  82. AmbrosineBabble says:

    I turned down two potential trips my wife thought would be good weekend getaways after her business trip (to Portland, OR, and Canton, OH). It just seems like too much hastle, especially when considering I/we would travel with a child less than one year-old.

  83. TechnoDestructo says:

    @jamesdenver:

    You shouldn’t have to “know how to travel.” Needing to “know how to travel” to not have a hellish experience is not a condition that exists in most of the industrialized world.

    As a frequent traveler, you should be one of the people complaining to fix the system, not making their apologies for them.

  84. amggal says:

    @jamesdenver: Ditto. I still love flying and much rather deal with airports than prolong my time in traveling. Can’t see myself sitting in a car for more than 3 hours.

    Besides, it’s a small price to pay in order to see the world me thinks.

  85. Leah says:

    I’ve been meaning to fly home and visit my parents since Christmas, but the high cost of flying these days has just killed it for me. I drove to visit friends for spring break, and I will keep driving this summer instead of flying. I don’t mind the security hassles, but the big increase in ticket prices is really killing it for me.

  86. MrEvil says:

    The last time I flew was in June of ’01. It was for a national contest for a club I was in at school in Kansas City. Had a blast there, but the flight SUCKED. So much so I had my mom (who lives 90 minutes from KC) pick me up and she drove me home to Texas. The flight was about half the time it took to drive up to KC and it wasn’t on my dime. However I reckon now you might save 2 hours flying to KC rather than driving.

    Seriously, I’d love to ride the train, but the nearest Amtrak station is Raton NM and the next closest is OKC, and OKC is worthless because it only goes to Dallas with bus service anywhere else.

    I have a childish obsession with trains and they would be my preferred mode of travel were it available to me. Heck, if there was a run from Amarillo to Dallas I’d probably go twice a month on the weekends. The only reason I don’t travel as much as I’d like (even though I have the money to drive) usually is because of the time involved in just getting there. I can’t always take a releif driver with me to catch much needed rest so I have to plan a day or two into my schedule just to rest up before getting back to work. I can sleep as much as I want on the train and they usually are very quiet…unlike Greyhound.

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I drive five days a week for work bouncing from customer to customer. Driving even for a vacation can really be taxing. I’d rather be able to just sleep or watch a DVD on the trip (which last time I flew, the plane was so goddamn noisy you had to turn on subtitles even with headphones.)

  87. legwork says:

    Remember, the reported results are for the past year. The hand-basket ride has only just begun.

  88. ARP says:

    @dohtem: Actually, there was no mist. It was firing puffs of air on you to dislodge explosives residue and “sniff” for them. The theory is that you built a bomb to put in your luggage or on your person and that little contraption will knock it off with puffs of air and detect it. They always single me out for it.

  89. ARP says:

    @csdiego: This is the problem with much of our infrastructure. For example, the “baby bells” still own the phone lines and muscle out competition by charging high rates (or cooking the books to convince the Fed their rates need to be high). Power companies own the power lines and have a partially regulated monopoly, etc.

    What would be ideal is if we nationalized (stay with me republicans, there’s a happy ending) some of this infrastructure and then allowed power, phone, rail, etc. companies to compete. You can also use it vote with your dollar. Want clean energy? Buy from the power company that uses renewable sources.

  90. HawkWolf says:

    anywhere I’d fly, such as to new england, would be an 18+ hour train ride, including about 3 hours on a bus because I can’t just get on an amtrak train from here to there (I’m in ann arbor.)

    that means taking a train could add on an additional day or two to a trip!

  91. csdiego says:

    @ARP: Absolutely, any kind of infrastructure that involves an extensive network of wire, cable, or track is a natural monopoly.

    What if all our roads were operated by competing companies that charged tolls for every turn at an intersection between networks, and then the government operated all the bus service and a rental car company that offered the only way to drive? That’s the situation we’re in with Amtrak.

  92. Titan0 says:

    Going in and out of smaller airports (when possible) cuts down on a lot of aggravation. I fly at least once or twice a month, and I can count the number of significant delays I’ve had on one hand.

    Also, I think that a lot of the people that rip on the TSA have forgotten how inconsistent (and poor) the subcontracted security companies were. Sure, those people never confiscated the orange juice I accidentally tucked into my carry-on bag, but at least I generally know the procedures that the TSA follow from airport to airport.

  93. huntsterUNC says:

    @Juice Box Hero:
    Well said! I find it decidedly odd that if I want to fly from Raleigh to Washington (250 miles or so) its $500.00 round trip. Yet if I want to fly Raleigh to Las Vegas (2000 miles or so), its the same price. STRANGE!

  94. I’m fed up with the extra charges for “premium seats” that NWA has been doing, and I hope other carriers don’t pick up the same idea. Charging extra for an aisle or window is ludicrous. Right now I’m flying about 4000 miles round trip every week. Tried NWA one week, and immediately switched to United after discovering this policy.

    If you ask me, it’s a perfect “screw the business traveler” racket. If you book towards last minute, you end up getting to choose between paying $15-$25 or enduring a middle seat because all the decent “free” seats are taken already. And at least my company and my client will not reimburse those fees.

  95. apeguero says:

    I have 3 little kids now so flying for me and the wife with the kids is the absolute last option. We only fly if we are flying back to my country of origin since it’s separated by a large body of water.

    I hate it how airlines get the sympathy and bail outs. Those fuckers deserve everything they get. We bail them out with our tax money and they repay us by nickeling and diming us to death: $15/bag to check in, $35 fuel surcharge, higher airfares, lousy treatment of passengers, over-booking, dumb-ass security, tax and fees for absolutely everything, plus no meals on the flight on top of that. Plus, add to that it cost over $120/week to park at Boston Logan for a week and your car might be scratched by the careless assholes in that city.

    No flying for me, unless, like I said above, I have no other choice. I hate US airlines and how they operate these days. Consumerist.com should have Worst Industry in the world contest like they do for companies. I’m sure Airline Industry would be at the top.

  96. nonzenze says:

    You guys are ridiculous. You can fly at 500 miles an hour for $.10/mile in nearly absolute safety to nearly anywhere in the world. And you still complain?

    Yes, I know the TSA security theater is ridiculous. Yes, I know the fees are ridiculous. Yes, I know the customer service is for shit. Guess what, don’t care. 500 mph for $.10/mile with less chance of dying on the plane than on the ride to the airport!!!!

    Sometimes I really don’t understand you guys. Sure it could be better (anything can be improved) but what we have is so much better than anything we’ve ever had in the past. This is the best time in history to be alive and instead of enjoying it we’re just bitter and mean.

    Just on more time: 500MPH, $.10/mile, nearly perfect safety.

  97. nonzenze says:

    @apeguero: If you park at Logan you’re doing it wrong. Take the Silver line.

  98. nonzenze says:

    “As a frequent traveler, you should be one of the people complaining to fix the system, not making their apologies for them.” I don’t need to make apologies. Flying, even with all the bullshit (and there is no shortage) is still such a fantastic offer — unparalleled in the history of humanity — that no apologies are necessary.

    It would be like Alexander Bell apologizing that his phone was still tethered to wall by a cord.

  99. TechnoDestructo says:

    @nonzenze:

    No, it would be like Alexander Bell apologizing that his phone shocked anyone who used it unconscious.

  100. FLConsumer says:

    TSA + airlines = SUCKAGE. Because of those two things alone, I’ve tried to avoid air travel as much as possible (unless it’s a charter flight). I was part of a video conference today, whereas we would have preferred to do the meeting in person, but couldn’t afford the hours of UNproductivity caused by the delays of the TSA, airlines, and FAA. We got a “good enough” job done, but it’s still not the same. The reason we chose to fly in the past was to increase productivity (vs. driving). Now it’s becoming more of a wash.

  101. nonzenze says:

    >> No, it would be like Alexander Bell apologizing that his phone shocked anyone who used it unconscious. <<

    Yes, because the inconveniences of travel are really comparable to being shocked unconscious.

    In most cases, flying beats the pants out of driving, bus or train. On the other hand, if you are willing to pay a premium to travel some other way then by all means do what makes you happy.

  102. nonzenze says:

    “Why on earth would I pay a minimum of $500 for that kind of abuse?” I fly on Southwest for $150 RT (NYC-CHI) or $200 RT (BOS-CHI) all the time. Minimum cost to drive that round trip $500 (closer to $700).

    Yeah, that’s a real savings.

    Maybe you guys just suck at finding good airfare.

  103. ajadoniz says:

    I feel like a criminal and almost feel scared to smile or expressing any emotion outside of neutral because that could arouse suspicion. frustrated…

  104. STrRedWolf says:

    I don’t fly enough myself (only twice per year) but if things start sucking more, I may cut that down in half and use Amtrak for my second trip (being cheaper in price but expensive in time).

  105. Bryan Price says:

    I’ve been avoiding flying as much as possible since 9/11/01. I flew on 9/11 (albeit at 3AM on a late flight that had I not made…), and that’s just on the BS security measures that don’t make us safer.

    Now last year I did fly to Switzerland, which was decent because I went business class. I’m getting ready to fly to South Africa for four weeks, of which I will be flying business class again due to the miles my wife has accumulated. Monthly trips back and forth from South Africa since January makes the mileage add up rather quickly.

  106. handalanda says:

    We live 5 hours away from a major airport. We do have a small one here were we live, but it is normally these small commuter puddle jumper flights that get delayed and canceled. So we have to think a lot before we decide to fly out of here, sometimes it is just better to drive the 5 hours to the major airport.

  107. Oh HELL yes I’m fed up. I’ve figured out that driving 13 hours to the East Coast is, at the end of the day, cheaper (even WITH gas-prices what they are) and far, FAR more enjoyable than spending almost the same amount of time screwing around with rude fascists at the airport.

    I don’t use the word “fascists” lightly. The “security theatre” has gotten so bad that my husband’s funny haircut makes being anywhere near an airport a constant ordeal. And then of course, you don’t feel even remotely safe either, because they’re not competent at doing anything besides harassing people and tacking on fees.

  108. wynterbourne says:

    Honestly, I avoid flying simply because of the pure stupidity that is called the TSA.

    My father is a courier who may make two to three very short flights a week. Because of the sheer number of flights he takes, as well as how often he buys the ticket 1-2 hours before the flight, he is subjected to additional screening. I could almost understand this.

    However, he has a badge that lets him drive his van onto the flight deck and into customs area with no inspection whatsoever. He’ll back directly up to a plane, load a package, and drive off with nobody giving him a second glance. In his van he carries a number of things banned from being near the airplanes, including a .38 cal semi-automatic.

    What’s even more sad is when -I- took a priority delivery to the airport for him while he was at the doctor’s office. They just scanned the badge, didn’t even check to make sure the faces match before I went onto the flight deck and backed up to a plane.

  109. wynterbourne says:

    Sorry, correction, .380 not a .38. 0 key’s sticking.

  110. alpacalypse says:

    I take the train whenever the trip is 600 miles or less, and there’s a stop within 40 miles of my destination. a 600 mile trip tends to be around ten hours, and I’d rather spend a day (working, eating, stretching, etc) on a train than four or five hours being searched and herded. Trains are quieter and better for the environment, too.

    I often take a folding bike to ride from the station to wherever I’m going.

  111. MFfan310 says:

    If the trip’s more than 6 hours in each direction, I’ll fly. Despite all those TSA hassles, crappy service, and delays, it’s still better than that other alternative: the mega petri dish known as Amtrak.

  112. irid3sc3nt says:

    Amtrak via California Zephyr. It’s almost always late, but it’s comfortable with lots of room and I don’t have to drive myself.

  113. FrankReality says:

    The only time I fly is when my job requires it.

    Hate the airlines, hate over-crowded airports, hate the whole systems lack of resilience to weather conditions, hate the hurry up then wait, hate the TSA and their lack of common sense, hate over-priced everything in airports, hate delays especially when you’re in an aluminum tube on the tarmac, hate lost luggage (it happens even on non-stop flights), hate surly skycaps, hate the tiny seats, hate airline and airport food, hate the number of strange fees that have been adding to the cost, and hate rental cars and agencies.

    They only thing to like is that you eventually get there safely, other than that the whole system sucks badly.

  114. barty says:

    @monkey33: Not any different here in Atlanta. I priced out Amtrak vs AirTran to take me to Washington DC 4 years ago, and AirTran was $60 cheaper and got me there 10 hours faster each way. Perhaps the politicians and other regulatory bureaucrats will wake up one day and get rid of the trains to nowhere and will re-focus the money into regional corridors so we can ride 180 mph trains that would make the travel times almost on par with air travel once you factor in screwing with checking baggage, security and claiming baggage on the other end.

    If I’m facing more than a 1000 miles one way to drive (almost impossible to do without stopping for the night, even with two drivers) I’ll still fly, but otherwise I’ll just drive, gas prices and all.

  115. barty says:

    @FrankReality: Weather delays are a fact of life and of your safety. Installing the necessary equipment required to allow the maximum number of flights in zero/zero conditions is prohibitively expensive except for a select number of airports, and even then its only installed on a runway or two because of the amount of monitoring and redundant equipment required. Also, since it is impossible for anyone to see anyone else in such conditions, it would be really, really bad to have two (or more) aircraft in such close proximity in such conditions if one of them had to maneuver suddenly. That’s why separation requirements increase as visibility decreases.

    I wish there was a better solution, but until AI and computers get good enough to basically allow pilotless aircraft all held in sync by a central air traffic management system, that’s what we’re stuck with.

  116. BlackFlag55 says:

    Airlines = vast suckhole of fucktards.

    When my daddy flew from Atlanta to La Guardia around 1960, Delta would call him ahead of time and ask him how he wanted his steak done. And that was back with the common folk, not First Class. Flying was like temporarily being royalty.

    We no longer fly. Don’t want to breathe the bad air, commune with ill tempered sons of unmarried parents, don’t want an anal exam to get on board, do not want my baggage examined, and I don’t care to be prevented from taking down some swine who fondles my wife in the ‘security’ line up.

    Eff them all, and their progeny. 10 cents a mile or not.

  117. Phillip1952 says:

    The national economy did not lose $26 billion. That money just did not diaappear. It just did not go into the pockets of the airlines.

  118. blackmage439 says:

    I last flew with United some 5 years ago to a small airport in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The early morning flight was canceled on my way to the airport. I had to wait for a flight 7 hours later.

    On the return flight to Ohare, our plane rocked so badly from the turbulence, I thought we were going to crash.

    FAIL.