By Megan McArdle
But don't feel too bad. It's not you, it's me. Or rather, it's the TSA.
I'm not going to lie. It's come between us. If I have to let someone else see me naked in order to be with you--well, I'm just not that kinky. And deep down, I don't think you are either. I think it's the TSA making you act like this. Frankly, you haven't been the same since you started running around together.
But I can't put all the blame on them. I think you went along because you thought I had to have you--that I couldn't live without you. That no matter what you did, I'd stay. And it's true, you had a pretty strong hold on me. Took away the food, and I still loved you--who wanted to eat a terrible, fattening meal anyway? Narrowed the distance between the seats, and still I stayed, using my airline miles to upgrade to first class. Charge me for baggage? I'm an economics writer--I love unbundled products. So I can see where you got the idea that I'd stick by you no matter what.
But the kinky stuff is just a bridge too far. I'm not saying I'll never see you again: we can still meet up for a drink, or even a quick weekend trip to California. But our days are a regular item are through. I'm writing this letter because one of my commenters pointed out that it was only fair to let you know what was going on:
Especially if you've got frequent flyer status, don't forget to mail the airline and tell then you're flying amtrak...optouting is fine, but it's really only the airlines that have the clout to push back.
It wouldn't be fair to just drop out of sight and not return your calls without letting you know why I was leaving. As it happens, I'm a frequent flier on American, and a pretty reliable customer of Delta and United. Or rather I was. Because like I said, I'm leaving you.
In fact, I've already left. My cousin's wedding in Buffalo in October? Drove eight hours each way. Going to visit Dad in Boston over Christmas? We're taking a slow train from DC rather than subject ourselves to the increasing indignity of flying. If it's under 500 miles, I'll do anything rather than hop on a plane. And if it's over 500 miles, it had better be way over . . . or I'd better be carrying a cooler with a still-beating heart in it.
I suspect there are a lot of people out there who feel the same way, and may not have blogs, so I'm urging them to put their Dear John letters right in the comments. I'll forward any Dear Airline letters that are left in the comments to the relevant airlines.
Uncle Sam may not care about the minority of voters who fly often. But I'm kinda hoping that you guys do. Maybe the flame of our old romance isn't entirely out. I don't want to raise false expectations--but you might win us back. If you play your cards right.
If not--well, here's looking at you, kid. From the window of the BoltBus as it cruises past Newark airport.
Megan McArdle is the business and economics editor for The Atlantic. She has worked at three start-ups, a consulting firm, an investment bank, a disaster recovery firm at Ground Zero, and the Economist.