Tuesday, May 8, 2012

To Check or Not to Check

We flew to Dallas last month for a wedding, and I noticed the most curious airline practice. The airline is, mercifully, one that didn’t charge the accursed per-checked-bag fee, which I think should just be discreetly concealed in the price of the ticket. “But what”, you ask, “if I only have a carry-on?”

My hubby and I travel a lot, and I’m here to tell you that we have witnessed more flagrant, utter bullshit watching passengers try to deceive, manipulate, hector, and delude themselves, the airline employees and fellow passengers that  1.) their carry-on is within the regulation size limit, or 2.) the woman that weekend trying to convince the gate attendant that her four carry-on items - a wheeled suitcase, a brimming mesh contraption hanging from the wheeled suitcase, a totebag, and her purse-were actually two.

Really, it's just my carry-on
The attendant tried to tell her four carry-ons was unacceptable, whereupon the woman brashly turned tail and lumbered down the ramp onto the aircraft, then held up the line behind her while she stowed all the items in overhead compartments. Upon arrival, she held the line up getting the damn things off, too. This was in addition to watching other people cram oversized, overstuffed bags of every sort into the compartments, then pry them back out to deplane.

Examining checked bags for homeland security hazards apparently got so costly that the per-bag fee was implemented, causing hordes of passengers to try to dodge the fee by stuffing perhaps appropriate sized bags to bursting, and in some cases, bags that don’t even pretend to be regulation size, to carry on. The cost of examining carry-on luggage is now apparently such that airlines are considering a fee for those as well.
Air travel is people watching at its finest and just part of the entertainment to be had while travelling, but I digress. The curious practice I spoke of involves the inconsistent handing out of in-flight snacks: Four flights; Seattle-Salt Lake City, Salt Lake City-Dallas. And back. First flight-two tiny packages of peanuts containing about 12 goobers each. Next flight-the attendant handed my hubby a pack of cookies and apparently supposing that I didn’t need anything, passed me by. Third flight-a package of pretzels, package of peanuts, AND pack of cookies. (I traded my hubby the cookies for the peanuts). Fourth flight-one tiny package of peanuts.
In-flight Snack
My question is, why the difference in distribution approaches, on different flights on the same airline?


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