Unless you have a few extra days to burn or your vacation is a classic road trip, odds are you are going to be flying on your next vacation.
Flying is one of those odd things that breaks every rule in the book. The airlines and the TSA have combined to create the most unfriendly and annoying industry in the world.
Think about what you go through when flying. First they tell you to get to the airport two hours before your flight. Now compare that to your other options. If you take the bus you show up about 20 minutes before it's time to leave. A train maybe 30 minutes. Why the difference? Buses and trains play the odds. The airlines don't
Ok so you arrive at the airport. If you want an actual person to check you in or you couldn't check in on-line or at a kiosk you have to wait in a line full of doing their best imitation of Grumpy Dwarf. The big difference is, unlike Grumpy these people always try to talk to you. They don't want to have a nice conversation or chit chat about your destination. These people want to let you know how bad things are. They want to complain and since you have to be in that line you can't get away.
The person you face at the end of the line is a total mixed bag. If you catch someone at the beginning of their shift you'll find someone trying to look out of one eye or someone who actually things they are going to have a good day. If you catch someone who has been working for a few hours you get someone who is crushed and has been reminded that half the people they have to deal with all day long are stressed out maniacs who want someone to yell at. Most of the time the person has been so abused over their career that they are about as friendly as a hung over Eyeore.
Next comes everyones favorite joke - security. You wait in a line longer than most Disney World queue lines but instead of a fun attraction you get to take your shoes and belt off, empty your pockets, play with plastic bins, and meet someone who hates his job so much he hasn't smiled in years.
On top of that you might get to stand in a scanner or get a lovely pat down!
You might ask why this is a joke. Most airplanes hold 150 passengers. That's a little more than a full bus and a little less than a train. No matter how you look at it all three can be considered a weapon if someone took them over or blew them up.
If you want security do it like Disney does. It would be far less intrusive, far more effective, and much faster.
After you make it through security you get to one of the most annoying parts of flying. Getting on the plane. This is annoying because it's a totally broken process. The best thing you could do would be to setup an actual queue and enforce who gets into it. Instead people pile up in a group and go bananas when their section is called. That's assuming they wait until they are called.
You might think that enforcing who gets on when would be slow. You are wrong. Just color code the tickets so everyone knows what section of the plane you are sitting in. Then everyone knows right away if someone is trying to be a jerk.
On the plane you quickly find out who the real jerks are. They are the ones who have the multiple large carry ons. This is totally inconsiderate to your fellow travelers. If you take up twice the space someone else is going to have to check their carry on because of your selfishness. These are also the people who think the rules don't apply to them and the flight attendants need to tell them multiple times to shut off their phones and electronics. They also tend to give the flight attendants a dirty look or complain. After all we know it's the flight attendant's fault right?
Next you finally get to fly. This is a total mixed bag depending on what airline you use so I won't focus on it.
The next thing you always run into is when it's time to get off the plane. No matter where people sit on the plane they all need to stand up at once and try and get their carry on out of the overhead. I guess the extra 2.2 seconds that gives them is really important.
Things don't get much better at the baggage claim. Instead of standing back a little and waiting for the luggage to come everyone piles up and jockey's for position. They pack it so tight that people can't get their luggage off the belt without clocking someone.
Flying is such a joy.