When I need to travel somewhere, I much prefer to go by car if I can reasonably drive the distance in a day (maybe two depending on how long I’m going to be at my destination). I don’t see that preference changing anytime soon. Air travel has become Thunderdome lately.

It’s bad enough that one often needs to wait in Disneyworld-esque lines in order to be treated like a terrorist by low level federal employees, more of whom have been caught committing crimes than have caught criminals. Sitting for hours in a cramped seat in an aluminum tube full of germ infested, inconsiderate people and their beer farts is not enough of a hassle. Now you have to be prepared for a street fight.

Screams and commotion took over Fort Lauderdale’s airport Monday as travelers clashed with Spirit Airlines employees and police.

About 300 Spirit flights have been canceled over the past seven days, leaving thousands of passengers angry. The airline says its own pilots are behind the cancellations and is suing them in federal court.

Passengers across the country faced hours-long delays and flight cancellations for days. By Monday night, some travelers in Florida had enough.

The front ticket counter at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport turned into chaos, and Broward County deputies stepped in to try restore the peace between passengers and airline employees.

Police brutality or traveler stupidity?  Either way I don’t want any part of it.

Spirit Airlines blamed the chaos on the pilots union, accusing them of a work slowdown.

Spirit Airlines spokesman Paul Berry said the company was “shocked and saddened” to see the events at the Ft. Lauderdale airport and blamed its pilots.

“These pilots have put their quest for a new contract ahead of getting customers to their destinations and the safety of their fellow Spirit Team Members,” Berry said in a statement.

In a federal lawsuit, the airline says cancellations have been caused by pilot unavailability and is accusing the pilots’ union — the Airline Pilots Association, International (ALPA) — of orchestrating an unlawful slowdown.

At this point the only aspect of air travel that makes it remotely preferable to other modes is that it’s faster. Faster isn’t necessarily better though. Doctors could probably perform surgery faster if they didn’t bother with washing their hands, using anesthesia, or stitching you up afterwards. I’m fine with something taking a little longer if it means it won’t be a gigantic pain in the nether regions.