chelsea cookFor those of you who have a memory like mine, you will need reminding that I am now an Airport Ambassador at Tulsa International Airport. This job requires several skills of which I posses at least one. I am able to talk to people. This probably comes as a surprise to my former students but it is true. Now as far as imparting information to travelers, wellsir, not so much. My first two questions on my last duty shift were answered by my blank stare and confused mumbling. Sorta like a politician who gets asked a question about why did he get a raise in salary when other public servants (teachers, police, firemen, etc) have all “lost ground,” as it were. You get the idea.
But, in my defense, the lady asked me a question of which I had no answer. That reminds me of when I was a school principal and would foolishly ask, “Why did you boys do that!?” They never seemed to know. But… T I A is undergoing extensive remodeling from the parking to driving to things I never see. The lady rushed in and asked where long term parking was. As one enters the airport area, one should notice the large sign hanging down with large blue letters saying, “LONG TERM PARKING” with an arrow pointing to an entrance. So, with all the construction and trucks and noise and machines bigger than my house, I didn’t know any easy way to tell her how to go since we were inside the terminal and parking was way outside and construction was everywhere. Fortunately, an airport worker guy walked by and they walked off together with him gesturing and pointing and explaining. Wheeew!
One of the main things I have noticed whilst observing passengers coming and going, is the casualness of dress and attitude. The first time I flew in a commercial airliner, people dressed as if they were going someplace extremely nice. Most men wore suits and tie and most ladies dressed in similar lady fashion. Years ago I flew back from California to Tulsa and I wore my summer suit, white shirt and tie. I was not over-dressed. Today’s passengers; not so much. Most young people look as though they are going to be working in the yard mowing grass, raking leaves or perhaps, changing a flat tire on their truck. Now that the daily temperature has gotten above 70F, most girls have on shorts ranging from with legs to very interesting. 99% of the young boys have on shorts with legs (cargo shorts?). Amazingly enough, many of them have on clean clothes. Sometimes a family will come through and it looks as if they were all dressed purposely to look nice. Having made several very long flights, I can relate to this “new” way of dressing for travel. Especially now that the airlines have decided that the traveling American public all fit the same mold. No, make that two molds.
The first mold is for First Class passengers who can shell out multi-bucks for a seat comfortable enough to keep one from being a contortionist. The people who can afford that, or whose company can afford that, do not mind very much flying commercially. The second mold is where most of us are placed. The airlines have discovered that Congress will do nothing to help the general public so airlines have continually reduced the size of the seating space, the actual seats and the amount one can take with them without extraordinary cost. To fit comfortably in an airline seat now one should be as skinny as an anorexic 13 year old girl, as limber as an Olympic gymnast and be able to carry one’s personal items wrapped in a handkerchief. Good luck with that.   
But, he says sheepishly, there is a bright side even if our elected representatives refuse to help. We can go from Boston to London in about eight hours. It took our ancestors about eight weeks. That is, IF the weather cooperated. It took months for a ship to get from Europe to China before the USA was the USA. Now by going the Polar route, it takes hours. If I had a reason, and the money, I could leave Tulsa and be in China in about 18 hours. When I was a kid it took my family almost three days to get to California.
It would be good, I believe, if some airlines had a CEO who was raised in those circumstances and not the silver spoon type raising. While making money is a great thing, I shall continue to shout, “It is not the ONLY thing.”  Think anyone will listen?