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The Friendly Skies

I love to travel. Let me change that. I love to GET places. I abhor the process of going from one place to another. I am old enough to remember what it was like to go to the airport, check your bags and walk directly to your plane.

Then some Cuban guys would occasionally get homesick and hijack a plane to Cuba. Sooner or later the plan would land and get sent back to the U.S. So between that and the occasional hijacking in the mideast, that were far more serious, it was time to put security into U.S. airports.

I remember when you actually used to get edible food on airplanes for free. I remember when you would actually get to places on time.

I also remember when there was first class boarding and then the rest of the plane. Now there is First Class, Executive Platinum fliers, Platinum fliers, Emerald fliers, military in uniform and lowly gold fliers. Finally comes the rest of the peons. So, unless you fly the same airline all the time, you are pretty much destined to board after most of the overhead space is taken. So you have to jam your bag under your seat and around the fat bastard sitting next to you, who hogs both armrests and sweats profusely.

Now let’s talk about the prices. Not that long ago you could fly from New York to Los Angels for $200 to $300 round trip if you booked early. Now it is usually twice that, plus all the surcharges applied. Let’s not forget the baggage fees. Recently I flew to LA and had to pay $120 for my luggage, roundtrip. It is true that I am totally in touch with my feminine side and probably pack too many clothes. But, American Airlines just added a lot of money to my ticket.

God forbid your plans change and you need to adjust your itinerary. Previously it was $50 or at the most $75 to change your itinerary. Now it $150 PLUS they figure what the regular price of the ticket would be if you purchased it on the day you make the change. You now need to pay the difference between the ticket your purchased three weeks and the cost of a ticket today. Sometimes $1000!!!!

I happen to live in a market with three of the worst airports this side of Baghdad. Baggage handlers at LaGuardia, JFK and Newark work at a glacial pace. Just hope you don’t arrive during break time. On average you need to figure you are going to wait 30 to 40 minutes for your bags to travel the 200 yards from the plane to the carousel. They typically get carried on the backs of large turtles.

These same three airports have Air Traffic Controller systems that were installed during the Johnson administration. On occasion there is a sighting of an Apollo capsule passing through the air sector for splashdown. If a seagull farts it is usually enough turbulence to crash the system and cause delays up and down the east coast.

I am glad to hear the airlines are making profits again. I am sure they will lower their ticket prices soon to give us a break. We also have to thank our government for handling things so well with Opec that they have increased oil prices 300% over the last year.

Finally my favorite peeve. At this time airlines are asking you to be at the airports two hours ahead of your time of scheduled departure. That means getting up somewhere around the time Craig Ferguson goes off the air. Get ready, get to the airport so you can wait in line with the other schmucks who got their early also. The airlines expect us to be on time, yet when was the last time that you took a trip and each of your flights departed on time?

Basically we have three options. Make a shitload of money so you can fly private (that ship has probably sailed), deal with the amazing amount of bullshit and inconvenience that you have to deal with just to get on a plane these days or stay home and watch the Travel Channel. I personally am holding off until the time when the last piece of Star Trek technology hits the mainstream. The Teleporter.

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About jimdelbalzo

As the former Senior Vice President of Promotion at Columbia Records and now founder/helmsman of the artist management company-Jim Del Balzo Entertainment, Jim has managed, consulted, and developed/executed the promotion and marketing plans for some of the planet’s most beloved musicians. He has guided the careers of artists/acts such as Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd, Billy Joel, Bob Dylan, Alice In Chains, James Taylor, George Michael, Soul Asylum, and System of a Down; to name just a few. Jim also does consulting for labels and publishing companies including Columbia Records, Warner Brothers/Reprise Records, Hear Music/Starbucks, EMI Music Publishing and several other entertainment entities. Jim Del Balzo Entertainment clients include,  John Mellencamp, Elvis Costello, James Taylor, LL Cool J, Burt Bacharach, City Sleeps, Buddahead and Since October.     Jim’s highly successful career and great service to the music industry has earned him a number of accolades and awards over the years. Namely, he was voted one of the Top 25 Most Important People in Rock Music (2000) and Promotion Executive of the Year (5 times) by Album Network—from which he also received a Lifetime Achievement Award. And Clear Channel twice honored Jim with the Executive of the Year Award while Friday Morning Quarterback and Radio & Records named him Top Industry Executive 7 times combined.   Today, Jim Del Balzo takes his talent to the microphone, adding voice work to his remarkable repertoire. His promotional expertise and attuned top executive instincts-combined with his richly unique sound- delivers VO that is truly somethin’ else.   Jim Del Blazo VO.  Like nothin’ you’ve heard. Like nobody’s business.   Jim lives in Saddle River, New Jersey with his wife Mary Beth, daughters Jessica and Julia, and their two golden retrievers.

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