by John Hendrie

Well, maybe not kill you but at least bring on intensive heart burn.

It used to be so much fun to travel by air. Years ago we used to dress up for the flight, order whatever beverage we wanted, the food served was palatable and customer service was king. Oh woe and alas, things have changed. Now, we are herded aboard, perhaps given a small snack bag of goldfish, get our knee caps shattered by the folded seat in front of us, and pay liquor prices like we were at a swanky hotel bar. Don’t mention the food choices, pillows and blankets. Then, to add insult to injury, we are charged for our luggage and extra (one per person) bags.

The airline industry runs on high points and low. Even on a current ascension from a nadir, we, the traveling public, are dispatched into the air, grumbling about the experience. The whole affair is disheartening and tiresome, but air travel is the quickest way to get to our destination. However, it should not be a flight of dismay.

The charges for baggage are not new; some airlines held back. But, now most are participating and their travelers are being creative – where there is a will, there is a way! Eturbo News reports that one gentleman, James McElvar, a musician from the band Rewind, tried a new approach in beating the baggage fee – he wore all his clothes from his extra carry-on, representing 12 layers in all – “comprising of 6 T-shirts, 5 jumpers, 5 pairs of trousers, a couple of jackets and even some hats”. Sadly, even though he disrobed the extra clothing once on-board, he collapsed with heat exhaustion. According to the article, this was due to “…the exertion of it all and probably the extreme tightness of his seatbelt”. McElvar did add his reaction, “I thought I was a goner and that I was having a heart attack”.

Travelers are a tricky lot, particularly when we face a poor service-laced rocky road to our flying experience. Once again, years ago, airlines were the very bastion of customer service, cool and special. Nowadays, not so much, and that is the shame.