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“Your vacation starts when you step aboard!”

By Richard Sheaff

Yeah, right.

These days I hate to fly, avoid it whenever I can. Long gone are those halcyon days when taking a commercial flight was a joy when everyone put on their Sunday-go-to-meeting duds to fly when travelers were pampered.

Nowadays airline advertising is filled with heart-warming, empty promises of friendly skies and caring treatment when the reality is that for too much money paid, we are all packed into cattle cars with uncomfortable seats and almost no legroom.

Passengers dress like they are laying around the house, in flip-flops, wife-beater t-shirts, short shorts with words printed across the butt. Food—if available at all—is both expensive and forgettable. Add-on fees are charged for anything and everything the airline can get away with.

There was a time when a flight was a special pleasure . . . restaurant quality fine foods in multiple courses served on linen tablecloths, fresh fruits, walk-around cocktail lounges, fabric window curtains, tables for card playing.

It all seems like such a dimly remembered dream now.

The only thing that has changed for the better is that smoking is no longer allowed.