See Who Travelers Really Owe Our Appreciation To (And Those We Don’t)

Today we honor the flight crews that died 13 years ago today.

Reader Alan H. is a one-man clipping service and today he passes along several articles, which I take as being along the theme of people who take care of us during our travelsand those who don’t.

There are people who truly add value to our travels every single say. Pilots are super cool. And while flight attendants shouldn’t be there strictly or even primarily for our safety, goodness knows they’ve saved travelers’ bacon many times.

It’s genuinely striking to me how many people we rely on when we travel — to move us on our way, to comfort and feed us, and to get us ready to do business or just relax and enjoy a break from everyday reality. We mostly take them for granted. They get far more complaints than thanks.

That’s true more so in the airline business than hotels. Airlines almost exclusively get complaints. The best a US carrier is ever going to do — on their best day — is meet expectations of getting you where you are going when they promised to do so. Hotels on the other hand see themselves as being in the hospitality business. Although even when they comfort us we mostly take that for granted.

Thank a pilot. Thank you flight attendant. Thank the agent at the check-in desk. And for goodness sakes thank the person in housekeeping who has to clean up after your sorry mess.

Meanwhile I do my best to be polite, of course, to the TSA as I pass through. After all, they’re just following orders and getting paid to do it. They’re one sympton of the security state we’ve gotten as a political response to what happened 13 years ago — dusted off hobby horses folks had been pushing for years but finally had an excuse for and an ability to overcome opposition to push through.

Here’s a great movie theater security plot: a guy hides M&Ms dangerous contraband in a catering cart and then a hungry rogue flight attendant uses it to do really bad things.

Now, back in the real world, the TSA is focused on confiscating barbecue … although it’s conceivable that they’re just barbecue snobs and this was Kansas City barbecue, after all.

Unlikely, because the TSA is also confiscating toy pistols belonging to sock monkeys. (See also: Breaking: New Threat to Aviation Security Identified)

I thank the men and women who take care of us in our travels, remember those who gave their lives doing so, and lament the liberties we’ve lost and the bureaucracies we’ve built along the way.

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. A good reminder to be courteous to everyone along the way and thank people for what they are doing. It goes a long, long way and many people are working thankless jobs (like cleaning up after you).

  2. 4,748 days since September 11, 2001. About 1.7 million US domestic passengers a day. Fatalities from security breaches-none.

    I’ll let others worry about their barbecue. I say thanks to folks working as best they can to keep us safe, and so far succeeding, habitual skeptics notwithstanding.

  3. @Sam the TSA has also never caught a terrorist. The bigger concern is focusing on barbecue and toy guns means that they can’t be focusing on real threats. That makes us less safe, not more.

  4. It’s nice to see some respect for the staff of the TSA, even if you dislike the TSA as an entity. I agree with refining the rules to eliminate stupid confiscations, but I’m skeptical as to how representative the stupid confiscations really are. One can always find some silly example that makes a person or organization look ridiculous.
    Even if the TSA hasn’t caught a terrorist, they must certainly have prevented many. Surely the terrorists would love to bring down more airplanes. If there were no one checking, then the terrorists could board at will and bring with them whatever they like. The simple fact that they have not been successful since 9/11 speaks volumes to me.
    Lack of liberty? Not for me personally, but I am concerned for the folks on the no-fly list who may have no idea why and no recourse.

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