Air travel, these days

Everybody complains about air travel, but I am going to offer some words of praise, or at least defense.

I always enjoy those airplane meals in little compartments, a surprise salad and dessert. I never complained about them and was disappointed when they were cut from domestic flights. I would have gladly paid a few extra dollars (let’s say, $10) on every ticket. But now that a lousy sandwich costs $7, I suppose that $10 wouldn’t cover the hot meals. Oh well.

About the cost… Tickets are so CHEAP. Several decades ago when I was starting to travel and I earned $5000/year, I recall that travel from eastern North America to Europe cost something around $800, very roughly. It costs around $1000 now, but look at our earnings! I just found a Toronto-Frankfurt price for January 2012 at $1005.

Entertainment! Do you remember craning you neck to watch a movie (no choice) on a 14″ screen halfway down the cabin? Now we have so many choices, right in our faces, that it can take half the flight to line up a schedule for the duration. Occasionally I’ve had the bad luck to get a malfunctioning system on a full plane, but really, there are worse trials in life.

Lost luggage? Yes, it happens occasionally but it almost always turns up a day later, and then the airline will deliver it to you. I have learned to always carry on board whatever I need so my trip won’t be ruined if my luggage goes astray. And no, since I travel light, I do not carry huge amounts on and try to stuff it into the overhead bin. (That might be my biggest pet peeve about air travel.) I am surprised that so many bags DO arrive as intended.

Are the seats getting smaller and the service diminished? Yes. But you can always fly Business Class if you want that service. The cost, compared to typical incomes, is still better than the good old days. I LIKE having the choice of cheap travel.

I’m still in a let-down mood after returning from vacation, unpacking stuff, restoring the house to order, getting back to work, and commuting in the dark winter rain.  So I am not inspired to be entertaining. Instead I offer two brilliant and entertaining items: