Flying Greyhounds……

No, not the dogs. In this case I am referring to Greyhounds as in the bus system. A friend posted on Facebook about the intense frustration of a trip where there were terrible delays in getting home and poor service from the airline. That brought to mind a trip where my outlook about airlines modified somewhat. I need to digress for a moment in the event that some readers are too young to remember the days before air travel was ”available to the masses”. In reality, for a long time air travel was for the upper class – those period pieces when you see mostly men in business suits and women dressed in heels, cute hats, and pearls. Everyone else went by bus or perhaps train. There were two-three major transcontinental bus lines and regional ones all over the place. There were a few “express” lines, but mostly, you made many stops if you were going a long distance and you got on and off  at bus stops that were all pretty much the same  – bathrooms, a diner, a tiny shop, a waiting room. Increased airline availability drove some of the bus lines out of business and for a long time, the airlines not only offered quicker travel, but nice amenities that you couldn’t get on a bus.

Which brings me to the conversation I had with a gentleman one afternoon as we encountered flight delays, although we were on different flights. We were in the sports bar and as he prepared to go, he made the comment of, “Flying used to be special. Now it’s like taking a Greyhound with wings.” That was an aha! moment. Please do not take this remark as disparaging to Greyhound or any other bus line because that is not the intent. The point is that for many airlines, despite what they claim, they have policies, procedures, and practices that do not make travel special. It is a functional means to get from Spot A to Spot B. As someone who traveled by bus in my younger years, it was a perfect comparison. And as someone who has made the Florida to Maine trip by car, in moments of sheer aggravation, I remember that even with delays, it is a shorter trip than by car. Mind you, that doesn’t mean I tolerate rude bhavior, but that’s another post.

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4 thoughts on “Flying Greyhounds……

  1. Well….in Thailand, the difference between flying and taking the bus is still pretty substantial…as is the price difference. A bus trip to the Cambodian border from Bangkok will cost about 200 baht ($6), but it could take 8 to 12 hours and there are no toilets on the buses, nor is food or drink available. And you might have to listen to violent Russian movies dubbed into Thai and played at full volume–a particularly horrifying experience I once had. A flight to Phenom Pehn on Air Asia is going to cost you a few thousand baht, but the flight only lasts an hour and they feed you drinks and snacks and there is a toilet at the back, and at the airport on arrival you are given VIP visa services–which means you don’t stand in line at the border for an hour or more in the hot sun. No comparison…not that everyone shouldn’t take a Thai bus at least once just for the experience…of seeing how long you can go w/o peeing or eating.

    • Ah yes, I did forget to mention that international air and bus travel can indeed be worlds apart. Thanks for the reminder. And thanks for a
      wonderful perspective on living/traveling in Thailand.

      Charlie

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