Am I the only one who’d rather not be nickel and dimed by the airlines?
Even the most seasoned travelers feel like traveling neophytes as they try to keep track of all of the changing rules, regulations and fees the airline industry imposes on daily basis.
It’s a new world, folks, and things are changing minute to minute. Between fees for baggage and food and breathing their oxygen (well, not yet – but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s coming!), it’s increasingly more confusing to do what once required no more thought than whether to bring the black shoes, the brown shoes or both.
Last week Husband drove son and I to the airport for our trip to New England, and before he got Son’s carseat out of the car I’d already experienced a problem.
I had read that Delta was not (yet) charging for a first checked bag. I had checked in online and told them we were checking two bags – 1 large suitcase and the carseat. Apparently I didn’t research enough because I thought the weight limit was 75 lbs, and I’d weighed it at home to make sure it was within limits. They weighed it right at the curb and came up with the same 54 lbs I’d gotten at home, and told me the weight limit was 50 lbs.
Okay, I thought. How much is it for an oversize bag? For $15- $20, I might have just paid it. But no – they wanted to charge me $80 for four extra pounds!
As if. So, I opened the bag and took out a few things. One was my blow dryer, as I can borrow from my sister if I really need to. And it’s summer, so most days I just pull it back in a ponytail or barrette and my fifteen second hairdo is done.
I also slipped one thing into my carry-on bag, which I was loathe to do. My carry-ons were heavy enough. The one bag plus one personal item per person limits are being strictly enforced because of the new fees, so I usually have to finagle to pass muster. I have a large (but acceptable airline size) tote bag that I use so if needed I can put my handbag, laptop and camera equipment inside and still have room for more stuff. The downside is it gets heavy! I didn’t have to worry about finagling this time because there were two of us traveling, so we were allowed 4 items. But of course Son didn’t want to carry any of them…
So, adjust your travel budgets. And try some of the following:
- Pack light. If you’re going somewhere you can do laundry you can really pare it down. Mix and match wherever possible, be willing to wear your jeans twice, and use all of the space available (why not pack your socks inside your shoes?).
- Carry-on only. If you pack light you won’t even have to check a bag. Just make sure the bag you take on board meets the airline’s size requirements, usually a total of 45 inches!
- Wear your bigger, heavier items. On this trip Son and I both wore our sneakers (even though it took an extra moment at security) and jeans and we each carried a sweater. This makes more room in your carry-on or checked bag, and saves on the weight, too!
- Use lightweight luggage. My very good, sturdy suitcase weighs about ten pounds. If I had a lighter suitcase I would have been able to bring everything I had to take out of my bag. I’ll be looking for a large nylon duffel bag to use in the future. And methinks luggage companies are going to be coming out with some nice new lightweight models!
It’s also good to know that they don’t count car seats, strollers or wheelchairs as baggage for either checked baggage, and they don’t count and diaper bags as carry-on. There are other exceptions, too, so check your airline’s baggage policy!
I also found this website, where a resourceful guy has promised to quickly update airline fees.
So today you probably won’t be able to bring both the black shoes and the brown shoes, especially if you’re going to need your sneakers, too. Choose one pair, and if the weight of y our bag isn’t a problem make them slip-ons. You’ll get through security quicker…