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Old Sep 16, 01, 5:15 pm   #1
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I am back in the air and it does not feel the same

How did it feel for you to fly for the first time since 9/11 ? Did it feel the same? Did you feel relaxed, comfortable, or were you scared?
My return flight home was last Friday, 9/14, only 3 days behind the original schedule.
Here are some thoughts and observations during my home coming:
- the desire to get home and to get there fast was by far stronger than any fears I might have had of getting on the plane again
- the crowds in Minneapolis airport on Friday morning were hard to describe: it was an endless sea of people trying to figure out where one line ends and the other one begins
- there was a line of a thousand or so people waiting to check in at the United counter. 1K/First Class check-in line had 3 passengers and 2 agents. This saved my bacon, and I managed to get a seat on the only one scheduled plane for Friday: MSP-DEN It was departing in 1 hour, and it took me good 45 minuted to get through security
- United people were fantastic, every one of them: gate agents, FA's, pilots, 1K room attendants, etc. I promised myself to never get mad at United again for pitiful little problems of the past ( upgrades, delays, etc. ) In my eyes, United redeemed itself for many years to come
- before departure, the capitain asked for a moment of silence and a prayer. He promised to make our flight the safest one we've been on in our life
- during the flight, you could smell the tension in the air if someone moved or got up from his seat for any reason. Actually, it was more than tension, it was fear
- inching my way to the West, I managed to get a seat on my second flight of the day: DEN-SEA ( thank you again, United ) In the waiting area by the gate, there were 2 Middle Eastern looking men sitting quetly, waiting to board our plane. One of them had an airport employee badge on. I can't discribe in words the fear and the hatered that filled the boarding area. 300 eyes were glued to these men. Somebody apparently went and talked to gate agents because one GA showed up a minute later with 2 policemen in tow. The cops casually walked by the gate a couple of times and then stopped by these two men. Document and ticket checks followed. Nothing suspicious was found. Still, for the next two hours of the flight the fear in the eyes of some of the passengers was real.
- although not related to the travel subject, I have much more loyalty to my company now. The way they cared, worried, helped me to get home was unbelivable. They even sent one of our company jets to pick me up in the middle of nowhere ( almost ) in Minnesota. It was Wednesday, and there was a confusion regarding the FAA private aviation restrictions. After 30 minutes in the air on the way out to get me, the plane was turned around and had to land back home. I Grayhounded for 8 hours all a way from the Canadian border to MSP.
- and the last "deep" observation/thought: no matter how much physical luxury you may surround yourself with in the time of crisis( nice hotel, executive club room, great food and wine...), if your heart wants to get home, nothing else matters.
So I am home and save now. Would I want to fly again? Sure! But not for a while. What about you? How did it feel to step back on the plane again?
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Old Sep 16, 01, 5:20 pm   #2
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First of all, Smooth, welcome home. I am delighted to hear that you are safe and sound.

I can't say how it feels, yet, because so far all of my flights have been cancelled. Joe flies SEA/ORD/MSY tomorrow and we'll see how it goes.

I will go to PDX every Wednesday and on the 27th we fly to EWR, followed by a trip to BWI the next week and then (hopefully) into DCA the next. We'll see.

Thanks for posting.
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Old Sep 16, 01, 6:03 pm   #3
  
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I flew on Thursday evening on TW PHL-STL-DFW. I was prepared for it to feel strange or to be scared or something, but it felt totally normal. I guess that speaks to how easily it can be for us to put our lives back to normal.

Despite feeling totally normal while flying, I still feel aprehensive about doing it again, primarily I think becuase of the potential for airport hassels.
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Old Sep 16, 01, 6:18 pm   #4
  
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Glad that you got through your ordeal, Smooth, and that you're home safe and sound.

I have a HNL-SFO-ORD trip coming up Thursday, and my emotions about it are running wild. I can postpone it if I want or need to, but there's one part of me that wants to get out of Hawaii for a few days. True, we're isolated, but without air service it felt even more lonely and isolated here last week.

And to prepare for this trip, I am having my will rewritten and updated. Seemed like a prudent thing to do...

[This message has been edited by Lokahi (edited 09-16-2001).]
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Old Sep 16, 01, 7:15 pm   #5
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Just speaking for those I know who were affected by the Alaska Air crash last year, the sooner you get back in the air, the easier it will be to do so. The longer some waited to "feel better about it" the harder it was to actually do it.
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Old Sep 16, 01, 7:33 pm   #6
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After four days of trying, I finally made it out of BTR yesterday afternoon and arrived home in the wee hours of this morning. The things that didn't feel the same to me were the number of empty seats in First and especially eerie were the number of empty arrival and departure monitors in both the MEM and MSP airports. Usually these are full when you are trying to locate your gate.
smooth is so right about the fact that no amount of luxury can make up for not being home, and you were so lucky your company was so considerate. Except for paying for everything during my extended stay and rebooking flight after flight for me, I felt pretty well forgotten.
I had no problem getting on a plane again and have already booked another business trip this month. Only the hassle gives me pause. And girls...packing for me will never be the same again. In BTR, NWA was searching every bag. This involved removing EVERY item from my suitcase in full view of everyone at the check-in counter. I will now be mindful that all my belongings may be subject to public consumption!!

[This message has been edited by TravelWeary (edited 09-16-2001).]
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Old Sep 16, 01, 7:40 pm   #7
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I finally got on my first flight yesterday from ORD to SFO and then my second flight from SFO to HNL today. The line-ups at the airport for non-status travelers were very long. The one at SFO this morning snaked outside and down the sidewalk. Luckily, the Premex and 1K lines were short.

The ORD to SFO flight was cramped, but everyone was very reserved and friendly. I had about 12 pilots and several FAs on my flight.

The SFO to HNL flight was delayed 45 minutes since they had to do a full security check before allowing the crew on. The passengers were very understanding and no one complained. I was upgraded and the service was the best I've ever experienced on this flight. The only weird thing was unrolling my napkin and having the plastic knife fall out with the metal spoon and fork. Again, the passengers were very relaxed and calm. I figure it's because they were heading for Paradise.

TF
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Old Sep 16, 01, 8:58 pm   #8
  
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I'm glad that my good friends made it home safely. It looks like we have a business opportunity here! Prepackaged disposable underwear!(since we don't want our dirty laundry presented to the rest of the travellers in the security line). The hotels will need to start providing disposable razors for all of us guys.
Luckily, I have a beard, so I can skip the shaving thing for a day or two, but, since I'm flying tomorrow, I think that I'll keep my good razor at home and get one at the hotel.
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Old Sep 16, 01, 9:03 pm   #9
  
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Since I'm travelling tomorrow, I'll report back on my experience and not be so flippant.
I realize that the whole attitude of the nation has changed, but business has to go on.
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Old Sep 16, 01, 9:59 pm   #10
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Hunki: It's funny, but I tried to "cleanse" my carryon of anything even remotely threatening--nail file, tiny Swiss Army knife, cuticle scissors, corkscrew, etc. that I always carry with me. I completely forgot my razor, but it made it through the security checkpoint and I didn't think about it until now. When they searched my (checked) bag, the only thing they looked askance at was the remote control for my CD player. They asked me if I had my CD player with me. I didn't as I decided at the last minute not to take it. I guess they just didn't like remote control devices of any kind.
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Old Sep 16, 01, 10:06 pm   #11
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Glad to hear from you too, Travel Weary. I was thinking about you today as well.

Look forward to the Train Trip on 11/16
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Old Sep 17, 01, 1:22 am   #12
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I can't imagine what it must be like in the U.S. From the reports, I'm dreading flying there.

However in Europe things have been relatively normal in the skies. I flew from WAW to LHR on LOT about 7 hours after the attack. Our flight was full and no one seemed to have any problem. We even had metal knives with dinner at that point as we didn't yet know about the terrorists use of box cutters.

Saturday I flew from LHR to NCE on BA and the 767 was full. Check in was relatively normal and took about 15 minutes total. This time, we had plastic knives with the meal. But people acted quite normal, drinking and chattering away as they headed down to NCE for some fun in the sun.

I guess it's that Europeans have lived with terrorism on their soil for...well forever really. They know how to carry on. I hope Americans can carry on after this tragedy.
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Old Sep 17, 01, 3:33 am   #13
  
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Hunki:
It looks like we have a business opportunity here! Prepackaged disposable underwear!(since we don't want our dirty laundry presented to the rest of the travellers in the security line).</font>
The first time I visited Tokyo a few years back, I actually saw and bought prepackaged disposable underwear in a large department store and brought them back to friends as souvenirs!

These were general-use, all-purpose unisex paper underwear in various pastel colors - they were displayed just like Jockey or Calvin Klein briefs in a U.S. department store. So, Hunki, it looks like you have some competition.

First travel will be CDG-SFO at the end of this month. My family seems more concerned about this than I am.

Safe and happy travels to all.
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Old Sep 17, 01, 7:57 am   #14
  
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I believe here is that Japanese Company that sells disposable underwear (for men & women):
http://www.jui-sheng.com/

It says: "Convenient, Practical, and Comfortable... Hi-Jean Disposable Briefs are as soft as silk and very essential, practical, convenient and hygienic for travelling, field camping, sports and during hospitalisation. Also...for unexpected overnite guests."

Free Delivery Worldwide. About $3 to $4 for 7 pieces.
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Old Sep 17, 01, 9:59 am   #15
  
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Glad you made it home Smooth.

As Stimpy said, nothing has changed much in Europe, apart for the airlines to increase the check-in time.

And oh, I also own a few paper underwear . I got mine from a Watson's store in BKK but you find them all over Asia.

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