Why don't I enjoy flying? Well, let's start with arriving at the airport. In the Washington, DC area, passengers are expected to arrive at the airport a minimum of 2 hours before boarding time! How can passengers possibly keep themselves occupied for two hours in an airport? Some pass the time sitting rigidly upright in luxurious comfort in plastic lounge chairs. Others, however, are not satisfied by such extravagance. They, instead, avail themselves of the awesome array of shopping opportunities and elegant cuisine offered by the many fine business establishments scattered throughout the airport. Upon exhausting all of these exciting possibilities, passengers eventually commence their flights by indulging in the pleasures of post-9/11 security routine. This begins at the check-in desk, where passengers must prove, via appropriate government-approved documents, that they are who they say they are. If they do this right, they are given boarding passes.
Having arrived at the gate, boarding passes in hand, hapless air passengers must empty all of their pockets, remove their shoes and subject all carry-on items to x-ray examination. Moreover, the passengers themselves must also pass through metal detectors and, upon emerging from those contraptions, stand with outstretched arms while more metal detectors/security wands are waved around them.
After successfully clearing the security hurdle, passengers walk down a long hallway, part of which is a weird accordion-like tube, and board the plane. Unfortunately, boarding the plane, cramming carry-on luggage into flimsy overhead compartments, and strapping into cramped, thinly cushioned seats is no guarantee that the flight will actually leave anywhere close to the scheduled departure time.
At long last, the plane is in the air. Passengers may sleep, read, or don cheap headphones and listen to the radio or watch in-flight movies and TV shows. They may not, however, stand up and stretch or walk around, except to go to and from the tiny closet-like washrooms. Only the older and more experienced travelers among us remember that, once upon a time, airlines actually fed their passengers. Those days are long gone. I've flown non-stop from Washington, DC to Long Beach, California - a five-hour flight - and eaten no more than a half-frozen sandwich, crackers and pretzels. I've occasionally eaten fruit too. Passengers wanting to drink fluids other than water, milk, juice, or the caffeine staples (coffee, tea and soda - which precipitate repeated visits to the plush washroom facilities) must pay extra for those.
Finally, having arrived at their destination, airplane passengers rise out of their seats, stretch, haul down their carry-on luggage and proceed to the baggage claim cart. Once there, they stare at the carousel as it rotates
round and round
and round and round
and round and round.
and round and round
and round and round.
By this time, they realize that their check-in luggage did not fly the friendly skies on the same airplane on which they themselves traveled. This means that they get to extend their airport entertainment by joining a line of other passengers in the same predicament to register their loss with the airline.
(My step-father once traveled half-way through Scandinavia as his suitcase trailed a day behind him. It eventually caught up with him several days later, which was a good thing because he was getting tired of washing his shirt and underwear in the sink every night. This past winter, Joshua's luggage only took 23 hours to catch up with him. We picked him up at 2:30 AM on a Monday morning - his flight was delayed several hours by bad weather - and the airline graciously delivered his suitcase to our house at 1:30 AM on the following Tuesday morning.)
At long last, having lodged their complaints with the airlines (and hoping they will see their luggage again, someday) passengers emerge from the airport and resume their normal lives on the ground - assuming that they remembered to pack their toothbrushes in their carry-on bags.