Before……. U buy an over priced ticket and have your seat choices changed by the airline and you can not get them on the phone to answer these kinds of questions.
Airport……. With bags, usually can not use the mechanical subs-for-people at check in. Wait in a long line, pushing your bags along, to get to the airline check in desk where money or credit card will be charged for the bags that used to fly free. Present passport and the paper you printed out at home that tries to serve as a ticket. If your bag is overweight, what exactly is allowed is a mystery in reality, either pay even more or discard your extra stuff right there. You get a boarding pass and receipt for your checked bags and are directed to the gates.
At the gate, you will stand in an impossibly long line to be herded into an inspection line where you take out your laptop, empty your pockets, remove metal belt/buckle, and take off your shoes. All that and you will be x rayed or scanned to see your naked self. Stand there putting on your shoes, reloading your pockets, putting belt back on, and repacking your carry on stuff. Pray they do not want to open your bag because they go thru that like a dog hot on the trail of a deep bone. Watch as your oz of liquids are discarded and that hundred dollar Swiss Army Knife you had get thrown in a barrel, gone forever.
Well, it turns out that was not really the gate, so you trundle on to the actual gate where some form of the same inspection happens again…. even if they saw you walk 30ft from the previous inspection. Your water is taken at this time or other liquids. Now, you go wait in the gate area, your flight is called, and if there is some unknowable reason, you may be inspected a third time as u head to the airplane, often not.
On the airplane (coach). …….. The Stews will herd you to your seat and explain that this is yours even if your reservation on line and even your boarding pass say otherwise. You are now in the middle of a row of 4. You struggle to hoist your bag into the overhead, wisely taking out what you need at your seat. Push hard because lots of other bags are in there ahead of you. Most Stews see you struggling and find something in the rear to do. Now, seated, you discover that your knees touch the seat in front of you which is also laid back by an impossibly overweight man in front of you who will claim he has to leave it back for his health. Behind you is a squalling child who is relentlessly kicking the rear of your seat and whose mother has on a blindfold and earphones. The remote for your seat does not work.
Flying….. heating a plane costs fuel and money, so bring a coat because those comfy airline blankets are no more, but you can rent one, maybe. Belt in, sit still, and feel your hip bones on both sides chafing the arm rests, both of which are claimed by your fellow passengers’ elbows already. You know about the snacks and the chance of having to pay for something that is called a meal on board.
Imagine trying to visit the rest rooms from that seat or stretch your legs.
Arrival…. Meet confusing signs and prepare to wait until the bag monkeys throw your stuff inside, now wet. I cant bear to describe to you the process of claiming a lost bag; it is just too painful.
You get outside to find either no taxi or overpriced ones, driven by funny looking guys who do not speak English.
Wait, I left out the really horrid parts. And American carriers, especially Uxxxxx, are the worst.