Home > 2011 Posts, About Dave > A Third World Experience?

A Third World Experience?

In the spirit of the Days of Rage against totalitarian oppression that are sweeping the middle east, this post provides a travel tip you may find useful.

A happy flight not through JFK

Not long ago, two experienced world travelers sat talking at the table next to me in the Izmir airport bar. One checked his tickets, winced, and said, “Bugger! I’ve got to connect through JFK. I promised myself I’d never do that again. It’s a bleeding third world torture chamber.”

The other traveler nodded and asked, “Mate, what’ve you got against the third world?” I know for a fact that the airports in Brunei and Brazzaville are both better run.”

Overhearing, I smiled to myself in both sympathy and empathy. Five years earlier, I’d sworn to avoid JFK at any cost. At that point, my experiences there had covered the full spectrum from bad to awful. Finally, I’d chosen to stop enriching that mob-run, graft and corruption-ridden national disgrace.

Less travel stress is better

It wasn’t only the filthy public lavatories and grime-encrusted horizontal and vertical surfaces. And it wasn’t just the 50% downtime on any mechanical or electrical device. Or the doors that jammed half-way open. Or the 45 minute delays for aircraft arriving at a gate while someone was apparently on break, or there was a ‘work slowdown’ because the Teamsters and Electricians were fighting another turf battle. Or the gate agents whose only apparent job training was a Ph.D. and post-doctoral work in Customer Contempt.

No, it wasn’t any of these in particular, but it was the unending stream of them all together. And my choice has had a wonderful effect. Now, I arrive with far less travel stress and in a far more positive frame of mind.

So, unless you have your own jet or reside in the stratosphere of frequent flyer status, save yourself a bunch of pointless hassle. Travel any other route than one taking you through JFK.

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