Lee Cataluna: The holidays can come with a lot of baggage
This is the time of year for a lot of bracing: bracing for the Black Friday insanity, bracing for the mountain of deadline-driven work that will take up the weeks between Thanksgiving and the end of the year, bracing for potentially fraught family dinners and bracing for the ordeal that is holiday air travel.
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This is the time of year for a lot of bracing: bracing for the Black Friday insanity, bracing for the mountain of deadline-driven work that will take up the weeks between Thanksgiving and the end of the year, bracing for potentially fraught family dinners and bracing for the ordeal that is holiday air travel. Even just a trip between islands can become an epic journey filled with tests of patience, trials of fortitude and an all-out attack on your very last nerve.
That thing, that last-nerve thing, is often about the carry-on bags, right?
You’re finally sitting on the plane after the grueling TSA line and you’re all ready to go, and here comes the lady with a hand-carry so big she needs two hands to carry it, and you know, you just know, she’s going to try to shove the whole hulking thing in the overhead compartment that is directly over your head, right where your stuff already is. The pastries you bought for your family. The flowers you bought for your grandma. The big bag of dirty laundry you plan to wash at your mom’s house. It’s all up there. And here comes the lady with the massive valise, and she’s going to look at you expecting you to help her hoist that dead weight up there.
What is it about paying to check luggage on a flight that makes it so off-putting?
Travelers will upgrade their rental car to a shiny red convertible, order burgers from room service in their swanky hotel suites and blithely pay the resort fees, but they don’t want to spend any money on baggage fees.
Couples who would not think twice about dropping $25 in the airport Burger King for a hefty lunch to snarf down on the plane balk at paying that much to put their overstuffed hiker packs in the cargo hold.
People who will spend $30 on liquor within just the first two hours of the flight would never think of paying that kind of money to store their duffel of stuff where they can’t reach in during the trip.
It’s not just tourists. Locals traveling interisland are the same way. Sure, local travelers want to hand-carry their ukulele and box of Coco Puffs, but the clothes and packages of lemon peel gummy bears are just fine riding in the baggage compartment underneath.
One argument is that baggage fees are just a way for airlines to make more money, but that’s what airlines do: get people safely to where they want to go and make money doing it.
What if people just paid for checked baggage and thought of it as paying for the luxury of time? Imagine sailing through TSA because all people carried with them were small bags with very little inside. Imagine getting on and off the aircraft without having to wait for the long struggle of passengers trying to shove in and later retrieve bags that are too big for the space allotted. That’s worth something.
Reach Lee Cataluna at 529-4315 or firstname.lastname@example.org.