It’s nice that airlines are adding first class suites onto planes that are the size of 30 economy seats, but airlines continue to overlook the basics — ground services. For almost every flight of this trip I’ve boarded the plane sweating, partly due to the lack of air conditioning, and partly due to the pain in the ass which is airport security. And that’s despite the fact that I was flying some of the airlines with the best ground services in the world. Take my Zurich to New York flight this afternoon, for example. The lounge was incredible, and we were escorted through security. Then we were driven towards our departure gate, where we again had to go through security. It’s worth noting that this was actually entertaining, as a guy was arguing like crazy about taking his 6oz. liquid aboard, and he presented one of the most rational arguments. It was funny to watch security try to defend their actions, given that his tube was about 5% full at most.
And I got the full touchy-feely pat down, which always ticks me off. The escort didn’t actually bring us to the plane, but rather just to the gate. We then had to fight the herds to get our passports checked and stamped again, only to have to fight our way through the line to board. Then upon arrival there was a lengthy line at customs/immigration. The moral of the story is that navigating airports is annoying, regardless of what class you’re flying in. I’m not saying there’s something the airlines can do to make the experience truly seamless (although Lufthansa at FRA is pretty darn close), but it’s something they should invest more in, as opposed to bigger seats.
Now I’m headed to Tampa on Delta. I just checked in here at JFK, and was helped by one of the Delta “red coats.” I asked her whether there was a premium security line, and she said “no, but I can make you the front of the line.” She escorted me to the very front of the security line, and I was through in about 30 seconds. Damn impressive, I guess these red coats really are awesome.
In the meantime I’m in the Sky Club, which is beyond pathetic. The snack selection looks like what you’d expect after a 3rd grader’s birthday party.