Air travel now defined by lines!

Sep 5, 2006 1:59 AM

Lines, lines, everywhere there’s lines. There are three lines available in (casino night) life and at the airport, the VVIP — where one is ushered past the masses (e.g., the private jet set/high rollers), the VIP line — where one is given the privilege of cutting to the front but still pays handsomely (e.g., first class/line pass boys), and the schmuck line — where one waits, pays and still may be denied access if somebody more important is around.

Air travel used to be fun. Now it seems like an exercise in the theater of the absurd with grown men and women waiting in cattle-penned herds, stripping off like the girls on the East side of St. Louis working at Anything for a Dollar "gentlemen’s" clubs.

The airport experience then and now is as different as Axl Rose pre and post lithium. Sure, Axl’s emotions may be on an even keel, but where’s the demented rat-like inexplicable anger with the world? Where are his vendettas and hope for a little corner of Hell reserved just for miscreants?

As a young lad, I remember fondly flying on TWA, the stewardess bestowing me junior pilot wing pins (oooh, stickerifically dangerous), decks of cards, and on morning flights, savory powdered egg stuffed pancakes. About half way to the destination, the stewardess would take me to visit the cockpit. The pilot would inquire whether I had ever been to a Turkish prison, whether I liked gladiator films, or seen a grown man naked. Sure, it seems creepy now, but it was a different era.

Anyway, hopping on a plane and heading out to Vegas is no longer easy. In fact, it is a pain in the derriere. As a repercussion to the trials and tribulations faced by the average, harmless, nasal spray carrying air traveler, an increase in visitation to non-destination gaming markets seems to be a trend. Riverboat, Indian, and limited stakes gaming regional markets benefit from the detriment of casual air travel.

While it is true that neither Black Hawk, Central City, nor Cripple Creek has Celine "My Vegas show will go on and on" Dion, Elton John, or other resident high-priced diva concerts, tiny plates of food at gigantic prices restaurants, the Bellagio — yeah, we got art, or $25 cover charge and $12 drink night clubs, the towns do have slots and tables — the heart and soul of gambling.

For the same amount of coin it takes for me to catch the public bus to the Denver airport, I can fuel up my V4, drive less than an hour and be in action at the tables or slots. An hour is about the time I spend waiting at the gate, chugging down $3 bottles of airport gift shop water (i.e., the same type bottle of water that I could not bring through the security check nor on the plane) so that I do not get dehydrated during the flight when a flight attendant (no longer the perky, pretty and helpful stewardesses of yesteryear) may or may not get around to satiating my thirst with a full 6 fluid ounces of apple juice.

I doubt if cocktail waitresses at the casino are trained by the TSA and other minion of the government in the finer points of anti-terrorism tactics, but I do know that I have never seen a cocktail waitress sit down reading a book for an hour or more while on the clock (like so many flight non-attendants seem to do in their little nook at the rear of the plane).

Sorry to belabor the point, but I do not understand how a woman in a polyester uniform reading a book adjacent to the lavatory enhances either the security or the service level of the flight.

The better alternative to leisure traveling to Las Vegas or other gaming destination markets may be not expending the effort to endure an almost consistently frustrating experience of flying when a reasonable alternative is closer at hand.

(Founded in 1996, Yarborough Planning, LLC partners with select clientele to better understand and address business process issues. Core competencies include providing reliable and valid research, strategic / analytic marketing, and accountable Customer Relationship Management (CRM) development and implementation. David Paster is accepting new clients and may be reached at (702) 813-5062 or [email protected])