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Up-Chuck

In my top 5 things that annoy me would have to be boarding a plane. I am in Montana right now and we decided to drive out, happy to not have to deal with airports and airlines and passengers. A lovely little story from John Cochrane (I, too, have long pondered this question):

You know the drill. They try to board us by groups, but people are smashing on the plane like it’s the New Delhi train station. When the plane is half full, the overhead bins fill up. Then people start dragging massive bags all the way upstream for gate checks. On and on it goes, tempers frazzling and  a few hundred million dollars of plane, costly crew, and my not so free time sitting idly on the ground.

So I have long wondered: why in the world do airlines charge $25 for checking bags, and not $25 for bringing huge bags on the plane?

I finally found out the answer, here

Two years ago, [New York Senator Charles] Schumer got five big airlines to pledge that they wouldn’t charge passengers to stow carry-on bags in overhead bins. The promise came after Spirit Airlines became the first U.S. carrier to levy such a fee.

The article is actually about Sen. Schumer’s latest great idea, to force airlines to seat families together even if said families don’t want to pay the $25 fee for advance seat selection.

Next time you miss your connection because people took too long to stow their steamer trunks in the bins, you know who to thank.

Of course the larger picture is not the silliness of one individual, but the hubris of the Federal Government to try to regulate such things in the first place

Actually, what is most annoying about flying has nothing to do with Schumer (OK, ignore the TSA) or idiotic government, but rather it goes back to something I suggested a month ago. Our “beef” with the world is with people, not institutions, for they are merely constructed by people. The worst parts of flying for me include the second a plane touches down and 90% of the people stand up and pile up to get their checked baggage, then start piling down the aisle to hurry-up and wait for the locked door to be unlocked. It’s the height of impatience and lack of respect – bags clocking seated passengers in the head, people breathing down your neck. It drives me bananas. What else do you hate about flying? Well for me it includes the never ending stream of CNN all over the airport terminals – I’d pay an extra few dollars for some peace and quiet. And what else? Being locked in close quarters with very loud cell-phone talkers. I wonder if Chuck would allow a new airline to try to attract me as a customer by addressing these issues. Imagine a quiet terminal, a quiet flight – it would be a pleasure.

Well, the drive out here was spectacular, as is the entire place. I’ll be posting on it shortly.

6 Responses to “Up-Chuck”

  1. Speedmaster says:

    As I get older I realize that culture matters. Laws and rules mean nothing in a poor culture with lack of respect for decency, private property, rearing one's children well, etc.

  2. Brent says:

    …is it any surprise that people don't even put their shopping carts in the corrals…

  3. mark says:

     
     
    For some reason when i go through Paris charles de gaulle on my way to summer vacation in croatia (easily the worst and most disorganized airport in the world) i am always sitting next to someone with strong body odor, I've done this five summers in a row and i have not yet sat next to someone who smells good! 7 hours barely sleeping with a B.O. smell you are desperately trying to hide from but it if futile. 

  4. RIT_Rich says:

    Interesting. I have never experienced these problems in the US, although they are quite common outside the US. Here it seems people are a lot more polite, follow instructions a lot easier, and rarely does one see problems with people pushing and shoving to get in or out of a plane. Flying in the US is a pleasure, compared to elsewhere. But maybe I've been lucky. I love flying, and the only thing I hate about it is talkers (not people who talk to me, I make sure not to talk back. But there's always a couple of loudmouths sitting right behind me telling their entire life stories)
    That being said, nothing beats driving, especially to Montana. 

  5. chuck martel says:

    Every time I hear a travel tale of woe I have to recollect the historical accounts of, for instance Atlantic sailing passages that took over a month, sometimes six weeks or more, with bad weather, bad food, and bad company. But the folks relating the experience don’t seem to dwell very much on the hardships, whereas today acquaintances will regale me with the torture they endured during a 3 hour layover at the Detroit airport. I’ll have to include travel hardship stories with slot machine victory tales on my list of things to completely ignore.

  6. Virgin Atlantic operates luxury airliners in the USA. Delta has its own Priority class. You get what you pay for. I ride a city bus. It costs $1 – subsidized by a city sales tax. I could take a taxcab or a limosine. It’s my choice.

    You could learn to fly. It is expensive, also, but rewarding at a level you have to experience to appreciate. That opens the door, also, to friendly charters and other opportunities. Aviation culture is special.

    Granted that government regulation creates problems, the airline “common carriers” enjoy it. You still have choices in the marketplace. (And I agree with Martel above.)

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