As I have mentioned in previous posts, traveling today has many variables that make flying stressful. For one, choosing one particular flight over another, how many stops, as well as what time and price are all important things to consider when booking a flight.
Secondly, class of service has changed considerably. Do I prefer to fly in economy in the back of the plane, or should I pay extra for ‘comfort’ in a larger seat near the front? Or am I better off taking my ‘upgrade offer’ that the carriers sometimes give you when they are overbooked in economy?
Third, baggage has become a big business and money maker for the airline carriers. In the newspaper this morning I read that Delta Airlines has issued an employee share of the profit for the first time in many years. Last year alone, Delta made $2 billion dollars in profits. Thanks in part to our baggage fees, as well as paying extra for seats near the front of the plane. Some carriers have even started charging customers for carry-on and overhead space.
Recently I have gotten in the habit of doing carry-on simply because I do not want to pay for my luggage. Call me old-fashioned but I am of the mind-set that I am the customer and they should treat me as such and provide the service as part of the price I paid for my ticket. After all, ticket prices have not gotten lower to account for baggage fees or the inconvenience of having to cram everything into overhead bins. Nor have ticket prices been adjusted lower since fuel is also on the decline recently. I admit I have a few airline credit cards that allow me free checked bags if I choose. However, what I dislike most about this habit of charging for bags is how full the overhead bins have gotten, and just how much stuff people cram in there! It also takes longer to board the plane when most passengers have carry-on than it did in the days before all this started. I consider it a hassle of flying that I accept and simply deal with it.
It has gotten very difficult to travel with carry on luggage since no two airlines share the same recommended size restrictions. International carriers typically allow greater allowances than domestic, however, there is no one-size-fits all. In one of my travel journals last fall, there was mention that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) was supposed to come up with a regulated size carry-on that would be applicable to all carriers. I have not yet seen this, but hope it makes its way to the luggage racks soon.
There is one more type of baggage to reflect on when traveling. And that baggage is what I refer to as personal baggage. Often, we as humans have a pre-conceived notion regarding our destination and the people that live there. As Americans I have heard it said that the French do not like Americans. Yet, when I visited France, they were very personable and helpful.
Having a pre-conceived notion about people in other countries can prohibit one from engaging in conversation with foreigners simply because of what one has heard. In my opinion, someone who travels to foreign countries needs to have an open mind as to the people one will meet and the experiences one will have. Traveling with one’s eyes wide open will provide for the most enriching experience. To gain from our experiences, we need to take in all the sights, smells and feelings that our journey has in store for us. It is only when we travel with our eyes wide open will we come home having learned from our experiences and become more accepting of the diversification of our world. Becoming a diversified individual will help break down worldwide barriers that has our world so shaken up today.
How will you become more open to new adventures, people, places and things on your next journey?