Travel used to be fun for me. It no longer is.
Going to unfamiliar places, seeing new sites and embracing new experiences still is. But getting there is not.
I have travelled a great deal lately, especially between Montreal and New York. I would rather drive than fly. How do business travellers manage with all these hassles?
Security means arriving at the airport earlier. No complaints if it’s necessary, but it adds hardships. I especially dislike taking off my shoes and walking barefoot on dirty floors. But that is the least of the problems. Long lines are to be expected.
But what about the cancellations? Yesterday, my son was told that his flight was cancelled due to bad weather. Well, what can you do about that, right? But the call came on Wednesday for a Thursday flight! How did they know on Wednesday morning that Thursday night that there would be bad weather. No weather report I’ve ever heard is that reliable.
Airlines often cancel if they don’t have a full plane or some such thing. So due to “weather” or the ever-present “mechanical problem,” we are often left scrambling for new flights.
My son tried for a refund. Three calls told him absolutely no refund. Then a fourth agent produced a 100 per cent refund! Go figure.
The hassle of it all – long lines, perverse connections and harried agents – all make for an unpleasant experience.
Airports are all about rushing in order to wait. Hurry up, get in line, wait – that describes much of what goes on. Walk for miles, run and then get in another line and wait.
But one of the most perplexing aspects of airline travel is the cost of tickets. I firmly believe that each seat on a plane has a different price tag. Next time you travel, ask your seat mate what they paid.
When my husband and I flew to Toronto, we had to return earlier than planned. There was no cost to change his ticket. But my seat, right next to his, booked at the same time, paid for at the same time, on the same credit card (you get the picture), was of a different class and couldn’t be changed!
Prices fluctuate. Recent trips to New York have varied from less than $400 to more than $1,000. Week to week. One week the proposed flight would have taken me to Florida or Calgary first! I was able to fly to New York via Ottawa and Florida for less than the cost of a round-trip Montreal-to-New York fare.
And some carriers cost much more than others.
Surely some form of regulation or stabilization is called for. At the very least, it’s buyer, beware, and remember that travel agents can ease the situation.
Travel is enriching and often necessary. But getting there is no fun. Pity!