Air Travel Just Ain’t What It Used To Be

Another short business trip looms next week. That means more aggravating air travel. I remember the days when travel on the airlines was fun and exciting – and I don’t mean when I was a kid. It was like a little getaway from reality. The airline industry was service oriented back then and they still had some amenities for folks.

Now, air fares have gone through the roof and the airlines nickel and dime you where ever they can. All the frills and customer first attitudes are gone. Now you take a trip and you just hope there aren’t too many things that go wrong. You didn’t use to have to think like that. Routes to more cities were abundant. I also remember being able to pretty much use my frequent flyer awards whenever I wanted. Now, if you don’t plan WAY ahead, forget it.

The cutback on routes and number of departures makes planning trips aggravating. It seems you end up with either 20 minutes between connections or 4 hours. The cutback also means it takes a day to get anywhere. This trip next week is for a 2 hour meeting. Yet, I will spend two days in the air traveling to and from this short meeting.

The airlines are always shuffling their schedules too. When you plan a trip in advance, don’t get too comfortable in the arrival and departure times. They will change before you actually use the airline tickets. Take our upcoming transatlantic cruise. The cruise is Nov/Dec and we booked our air travel to Barcelona and back from San Juan in April. Continental Airlines has already rescheduled our flights at least six times since we booked. Most have been pretty minor changes to the itinerary, but two have been significant. One changed our layover on the way back in Houston from 90 minutes to 6 hours. Talk about getting screwed over by the airlines.

All I can say is, I hope the cruise lines never end up going the way of the airlines!