Air travel is no magic carpet

Suppose you could wish to be somewhere and instantly have your wish granted via a magic carpet? Just think how pleasant it would be: no need to arrive two hours early, no instant ticket to decipher, no luggage to check, no security lines to stand in, no emptying pockets and taking off you watch, no buzzing belt, no gifts to unwrap, no shoes to take off.

I wouldn't have to take a 5K walk to my gate and realize I have over an hour to kill.

I'm choking with thirst, but I dare not leave my carry-on to save my seat, lest a terrorist manage to open it and slip in an explosive device. I decide to wait until I'm aboard the plane, though I am feeling faint from lack of coffee and a danish.

Eventually I board, but I find that the new carry-on is too heavy for me to lift it into the overhead, and by the time someone offers to help me, the overhead is jampacked.

I try to fit the bag under the seat in front of me. The salesman assured me a child of 6 could do it. Not being a child of 6, I find it extremely difficult.

I have an aisle seat, and one of the people who has to to crawl over me to reach his seat has a weak bladder. In the course of his trips, I've had to read the same passage in my mystery novel four times.

At last, I see the flight attendant coming into view, pushing a cart closer and closer. My mouth waters in anticipation. Unfortunately, he hardly hesitates as he tosses a package of pretzels and one of Oreos onto the tray I had opened in anticipation of sustenance.

My stomach starts to complain audibly. I ask for milk in my semi-hot coffee, hoping that will appease my empty stomach.

I no sooner take a sip of the coffee than the flight attendant comes by with a rubbish bag to gather up wrappers and cups. Cowed, I toss the Oreos, pretzels and cup of coffee into the bag and settle back to await my death by starvation as the people next to me start arguing and the little boy behind me kicks my seat.

Then, at last, music to my ears: "Prepare for landing." Then, "please stay seated until the seat belt sign goes off" - even as people are opening the overhead bins and pulling out overcoats, luggage and shopping bags and jostling for position.

I rescue my bag out from beneath the seat in front of me, gather my unread mystery and enter the melee.

It's over, I sigh, I have made it.

Then I remember my checked bag and take the escalator to the baggage area and look for my flight. Finally, it flashes on the indicator, the red light goes on, trumpets sound and one lone bag drops down to the carousel.

Shortly thereafter, another bag falls, then a third and then they started coming thick and fast and tall in chaos.

In this wonderful world of look-alike luggage, bags are quickly seized and just as quickly put back.

At last, my look-alike bag arrives. With a mighty heave, I manage to land it, and bedraggled and weary I head for home.

There must be an easier way to get from here to there. There has to be.

The next time I have to fly about, do you suppose Aladdin and his magic carpet would come and whisk me away if I say "please"?

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