Here’s What Flying Today Has Become

We live in a very different travel world than the one I grew up in. I never thought I’d get to the place to where I said, “kids today!” And that’s as much about the people working in and setting policy for the airport, and the people working on the planes, as it is for the passengers… who aren’t all rainbows and unicorns themselves.

Pay attention, it’s a strange strange world we live in. Here’s what I saw this weekend.

The United Club is apparently where flight attendants go to campaign in union elections. We live in strange political times.

Complimentary domestic upgrades do still exist.

But maybe they shouldn’t. These were all from the same flight:

The airport is under terrorist attack!! What else to conclude? We know that water is dangerous at least in packages over 3 ounces and total amounts greater than 100ml. And this dangerous weapon is being stockpiled at the TSA checkpoint! (Then again perhaps the TSA doesn’t even think the water they’re stealing is dangerous, since they just pile it up in bins rather than calling for hazmat assistance.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The feet pictures are somewhere between weird and revolting. How on earth did you take them? “Excuse me, miss, but I really like your blue nail polish. Could I take a picture to get a similar color for my wife?” or something like that?

  2. I’m a fan of the bulkhead when I sit in coach. l suspect most people are because you tend to get a little more room and don’t have to deal with reclining passengers. It’s not unusual for me to put my feet on the bulkhead wall (never barefoot, usually with socks on). Judging from the behavior of my fellow passengers, I think the vast majority of my fellow travelers do the same. I’m not a big fan of bare feet, either. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

  3. On the subject of using a vertical footrest it’s time for Gary to admit defeet.

  4. There is nothing to excite and generate more comment than feet on bulkheads, poking between seats, up at a window etc. In fact this is a BANNED topic on one Frequent Flyer blog in Australia I follow, along with any reference or photo of LURPAK butter! (don’t ask!) There are consequences for trangressions! On another similar, but somewhat more elitist blog, both topics are discouraged but not exactly banned! 😉

  5. You do seem to have expanded your “bulkhead feet” rules. In the past your venom was appropriately directed at the barefooters. Now you’ve expanded to socks and even shoes. What’s the deal? Are you moving the goalpost?

  6. Yeah, the bigger question is why you’re flying UA.

    I put my feet up in 3E all the time on AA MDs and 737s (always w shoes on).

  7. @Greg – why not? I don’t need to concentrate my flying on AA to earn Executive Platinum, so I’ll mix things up a bit more now that the AA value proposition is somewhat less than it was. I feel like I’ll be better rounded that way.

  8. I suspect that the union canvassing is happening there because that main doorway also leads to a doorway into the operations area, so crews are going in and out of there all the time. As you’re heading into the club, it’s on the left, just after the entry from the concourse, before you get to the UC “Thar Be Dragons” desk.


  9. Those water bottles must be dangerous…you can’t tell me you’d actually stop and pick one up!

    Security concerns have come a long way. In the mid 1990s some of us routinely flew cross country for our computer nerd jobs and made sure to stretch our ethernet cables across the aisle so we could play Starcraft against each other on the flight…now we’re stockpiling watery munitions at the security checkpoints!

  10. @iahphx
    …until there’s a crying infant on a mother’s lap during a cross-country flight sitting next to you! It seems this is the preferred row for parents with toddlers.

  11. Must have been a yuuuge price differential to cheat on AA.

    Then again, unlike some unmentioned bloggers, at least you are permitted to fly UA! 😉

  12. 1. putting your feel up is just RUDE. Do you people go to strangers house and put your feet up furniture like that? Is that how you were all raised like living a barn? With shoes on or off, it is WRONG! What would you think if I came into your house and put my dirty smelly feet up on your walls? furniture? seats?


    2. that water at TSA should be checked for VOC since it is so dangerous. What is worse is the number of idiots who know they are not permitted beyond the check point but take them anyway. an then there is the fact that people are using all that plastic and then dumping it into the landfill. Such a waste. Get a refillable cup

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