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Wittman: Web site allows frustrated fliers a place to vent

When I was a kid, my friend next door had a mom who had been a stewardess for American Airlines. She told me glamorous stories of exotic flights where she met jet setters and world travelers, not to mention her future (pilot) husband.

I grew up thinking air travel was something glamorous and mysterious, something worth dressing up for and making into an event.

Then I grew up and got a job that required me to travel virtually every week. At first I thought I was in for a great adventure. I ignored my boss when he said, “Travel is only glamorous to those that have never traveled.”

I soon understood what he meant.

Lost luggage, surly security guards, being treated like cattle – and this was in the days before 9/11. Nowadays air travelers have the fun of hidden, or at least not-well-explained, fees, cramped seats, rude passengers and, don’t forget, a security process that’s akin to the process for visiting a relative in a Supermax prison.

It’s no wonder that people’s fuses are so short.

And that’s why Flightsfromhell.com was created. It gives people a way to vent their frustrations. Passengers, flight attendants, and, yes, the much-maligned security guards, can post their stories. Categories include “Portly,” “Reclining Seats,” “Odors,” and “Weird People,” among others.

If you think you have the mother of all bad air travel stories, chances are you’ll find something even worse on this Web site – which will either make you feel better, or convince you to drive yourself everywhere henceforth.

If air travel remains a fact of life for you, check out TripAdvisor.com. While it can’t prevent you from being seated next to a flatulent sumo wrestler or a whining, kicking toddler on your next flight, it can help you navigate some of those pesky airline fees. Its fees estimator will help remove that ugly element of surprise upon checkout.

Romi Carrell Wittman is a writer and the communication services director for Trico Electric Cooperative. E-mail: romi.wittman@comcast.net.

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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