We Are Our Parents; Our Children Are Us
Unsung, but Not Unpaid, Heroes


When Steven Slater, a JetBlue flight attendant, grabbed two beers, popped the emergency chute, and made his dramatic exit after an altercation with a passenger, it made the national news. Considering what flight attendants have to put up with these days, it's not surprising that he was fed up.

But what passengers put up with is not insignificant either—extra fees, less leg room, being stranded on tarmacs, charges for blankets and more.

I remember my first flight a million years ago. I was all dressed up. We were treated like royalty, meals on trays with doilies, gum and chocolates. I was determined to become a flight attendant until I found out that I was too tall and wouldn't even get an interview.

Today, although flying is safer, it is less pleasant and more complicated. In addition, because I have a metal knee replacement, each flight I take means that I have to be patted down by the TSA. Sometimes I have to wait to be checked while all my valuables sit in a gray plastic container out of my reach.

Some security people are really nice—like the young woman who wanted to know where I got my "great" jeans. Others are gruff, heavy-handed and almost insulting. Because I can never be sure how long this will take, I have to leave ten minutes earlier to go to the airport.

In the end, I get where I am going and back, often even on time. I have to accept what I can't change.

Like with so many things.



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Bill has the same experience with his knee replacement. Many things sadly make flying much less of an adventure than it used to be.

Susan Adcox

I remember as a teenager visiting airports just to see the well-dressed and exotically dressed travelers. Today most travelers just look like people you'd see in your own neighborhood! The upside is that flying is affordable for almost everyone.

Most of the time the airport workers are cordial in spite of the trying working conditions. On my last flight, I accidentally went through security with a corkscrew in my purse. The screener very nicely told me that he could let a corkscrew go through, but that mine had a little blade for cutting the seal, so he would have to confiscate it.

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