Air travel is something that I generally dislike these days. Between the hours spent in airports waiting on the plane, the cramped conditions within the planes, the lousy meals, the frustrating problems that can occur, and TSA.....I'm fairly negative.
This week, one of the big news outlets came up and said that TSA had done a review over the idea of denying you all carry-on luggage. They won't say why this was necessary, or if there is some new terrorist threat which might have some angle on this topic. The conclusion was.....no, it was not necessary....end point.
If you go around to people who travel by air and ask them.....how happy they are with TSA and the whole airline travel game.....the general answer is 'marginal'. A handful of people have actually given up and now simply travel by train or car. The news media won't guess the numbers, but I'd take a guess that short-distance travelers (the folks flying from Nashville to Chicago for example)....have dropped by one percent.
This brings me around to the idea of what it'd take to convince the public that there is too much security, too much hassle, and too many frustrations to occasionally travel by air.
If the airlines stood up and said....you can carry your jacket and a purse only.....as you board....would you draw the line?
If the airlines stood up and said on all 90-minute or less flights.....no drinks, period....would you draw the line?
If TSA stood up and said no laptops can be carried onto the plane....would you draw the line?
If the TSA folks stood up and said they wanted you to have three forms of ID to get through the initial security area....would you draw the line?
If TSA and the airlines came to say you needed to be at the airport three hours prior to the flight.....to get through the baggage turn-in and security requirements.....would you draw the line?
I doubt if anyone sits there and thinks about where their limit might be, and just how they'd react to something that changes your entire life. Between the airlines and TSA....could they do something so drastic that ten-percent of America drew the line and just said 'adios' to air travel? Before 9-11, I would have laughed over that suggestion. Today? I'd say it's very possible over the next decade that we will reach some mythical point where people say enough and refuse air travel.