Fly Me to the Moon

My husband and I just got back from a trip to Pennsylvania, flying on two different planes each way. Except for some slightly nerve-wracking turbulence, the flights were uneventful, and we arrived at our destinations in one piece. Because we are apparently complete idiots, we spent a total of $100 checking our suitcases. They aren’t particularly large suitcases; they easily could fit into the overhead bins. But we checked them so we wouldn’t have to haul them around between flights, and so we wouldn’t have to slow down the boarding process pushing them through the narrow aisles and cramming them into the bins. And, what’s more, we wouldn’t slow down the de-planing process for everyone, reaching up and pulling the heavy cases down on the heads of our fellow passengers. But it appears we are in the minority. And, adding insult to injury since every flight is completely full these days, the airlines nicely ask travelers to just leave their cases at the entrance to the plane, and they’ll stow them for them — for free.

This officially pisses me off. But I have a staggeringly simple answer to the problem: Airlines should charge passengers to carry on their luggage. Stowing their stuff should be free. Think about it. Wouldn’t it be lovely to file quickly on and off the plane? It would be so nice and safe for the flight attendants who, according to an attendant I recently met, have suffered an unprecedented number of injuries since airlines started charging for checked bags. And, though I understand airlines make money by filling their planes, I would argue they shouldn’t be filling them with bulky suitcases that rightfully should be stowed below the passenger cabin. OK, so maybe they wouldn’t make as much money in luggage fees, but the smiles on everyone’s faces — priceless!

And while I’m complaining about flying, I have one more suggestion. People who sit by the window should at least ask their neighbor if they mind if they pull down the shade even before takeoff. After all, everybody knows that vigilant passengers like me keep the plane in the air by looking out the window.

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