Thursday, April 5, 2012

Traveling is fun...NOT!

Okay so it's not that bad. LOL!

I love to travel, really I do. It's not the destinations that are a problem, it's the actual means of travel that can wear you down and get on your last nerve. Choose any mode of transportation and you will have a headache or two along the way. Today I would like to talk about my fellow travelers and how inconsiderate some can be.

Relax, you're supposed to be on vacation!

Yeah, that's the kicker. Why can't we all just relax, hang loose and enjoy every moment of the vacation including the travel? I'll tell you why. It's a cutthroat business travelling nowadays. First of all, unless you are flying first class or have special MVP status with the airlines, you have to pay for checked luggage. It used to be that you get to check TWO bags for free. Now you have to pay for every one of them. This has led to people cramming everything they can in what is supposed to be carry on luggage. Have you seen the size of the bags people bring on? It's supposed to be one carry on and one personal item. 

Yeah, right! 

Where are the people at the gate who used to make sure your carry on piece fits in that little rack at check in and at the gate? If it was oversized, you had to check it and that was that. Now so many things get through and take up space. Those of us who follow the rules are lucky to be able to squeeze out bags in the overhead compartment when these other people travel.

Oh and another thing...WHEELS OUT DAMMIT! If one more of my fellow travelers puts their overly stuffed bag in sideways, I'm going to throw a fit! Thank the Goddess, my Liam was there with me this time to hold me back. I was going to deck this one man and his trophy wife and two sons. This family of four were seated in first class in row one. Not only is there no seat in front of them to store an item, they have to put everything up above. That would have been just fine if every single one of them didn't bring on over-sized roll away bag and huge duffel bags. Oh and the "mother" had an over-sized purse as well. WTF!!!

They knew when they booked their flights where they were sitting and should have planned accordingly. I got even...sort of. They were seated two rows behind us on the way home and I made sure to comment that at least I didn't have a yahoo taking up all of my bin space this time!  Hehehehe.

Traveling with better have a plan

I give props to all the parents who have traveling with small children down to a science. These wonderful folks can juggle their luggage, all of their car seats, strollers and all of the diaper bags with ease. THESE families do not hold up any lines. They have it going on! I love you guys!

It's the other families I have a problem with. The so called adults who think it's okay to get in the First class/MVP lines at check in and hold up the rest of us for nearly an hour so you can try to switch your seats around. Sort of telling when your preteen daughter points out that you are in the wrong line and you tell her to shush. Yeah, well the rest of us are not amused Mr. Man! Oh and since you already had all of your boarding passes and just needed to turn in your ONE PIECE of checked luggage, you should have done that at the counter/line marked prepaid luggage. Tools like you make traveler rage more and more common. 

We barely made it to board our flight and we arrived TWO hours early as we were supposed to and to have that family as well as two ahead of them do the same thing, I was more than pissed off, and I was not alone.

One of our fellow travelers on the flight to Maui is a million mile MVP with Alaska Airlines. She travels frequently to other countries as well as all over the USA. She was not allowed to switch lines at check in to move to the faster coach lines and she had to run through the airport in flip flops in time to hear last call. The other members of her party are not MVP's and they got through check in and security a whole 45 minutes before she did. Tell me, does it seem right that the other lines are moving faster than the first class/MVP line? You pay more for the privilege to fly at that status and hopefully avoid a lot of the headaches. It should not be the slowest line at the counter!

Here's the kicker...all three of those families who were in the wrong lines were on my flight home to Oakland. Not one of them was in first class and not one of them had MVP status. To those people and others who are like them, remember that what goes around, comes around. Karma will get you sooner or later and bump your ass from a flight you really really want to be on. When that happens, think back about your trip home from Maui and the four other people on our flight you screwed over.

Laptops need to be in their own bins...yes this means you!

I don't care that you have this cute little laptop bag and it says on the tag when you bought it that you could put it through the scanner without removing the laptop. Unless it's in one of those little sleeves, you have to take it out and put it in it's own bin. Nothing else is to be with it. How many signs do you need in the airport to show the the way people!

I don't care that it took you forty minutes to lace up your fancy sandals. Take them off, put them in a bin and be done with it! I don't care that traveling through Europe you don't have to do that. Here you do so follow the rules or get pulled to the other room for a search.

Why the hell are you bringing your $50 bottle of special conditioner with you in your carry on luggage? You don't have it in a travel size, then leave it at home or put it in your checked bag. Simple as that!

Security lines suck no matter where you go so why make it harder on yourself and the passengers behind you in line. Read the signs. Hell, they have all the pretty pictures on the signs to help out too and in multiple languages. Funny how the people who usually hold up the lines are English speaking American citizens. Get with the program people! 

Those of you who complain about TSA and that they go too far with the security measures, I agree up to a point. It's not the terrorists from other countries we have to worry about, but those born and raised here. Timothy McVey ring a bell for any of you? 

TSA/security lines and Alaska Airlines counter people...You Rock!

That's right. I said it. Those in security were extremely helpful and tried to move us all along as fast as they could. We have to put the luggage through several machines flying from Hawaii and each time we were greeted with smiles. TSA agents always get so much flack, but I have not had a problem. They have always helped me get through fast. Maybe it's because I volunteer for the pat downs! LOL  Seriously, I have my ticket and ID out and ready to go, my shoes off, my laptop out, my pockets emptied, my jewelry off etc. I do what they tell me and don't give them any problems if they have to search my bag. I was such a doofus this last time and totally forgot the bottle of water I stuck in my purse after we dropped off the rental car. Not only did they quickly search, they zipped it back through the scanner in less than a minute. 

I was mortified, but they just smiled and said not to worry. Thank you to those gentlemen for making me less stressed about cutting it so close to our boarding time!

I actually feel sorry for our airline ticket agents. I don't think they were allowed to tell those families in front of us that they were in the wrong line. I would have had no problem doing so. There are no less than eight signs and a carpet that says what line you are in. If you can't read it and get in the right line, then it's your fault when you are told to get out. I think it would have been a hell of a lot easier to have an agent near the line to check to be sure that everyone standing in it was in first class or an MVP. Good customer service includes making sure people are not taking advantage of the rules already set in place. 

Under the circumstances, I think the agents did the best they could. Could things have been done differently? You betcha! The million mile traveler I mentioned earlier? Well, she was on the phone with customer service for Alaska Airlines while she was in line to check in and once again once she sat down on the plane. She was not happy and neither were we. We have sent our complaint to them via email. Our hope is that they learn from this snafu and make the changes needed to make traveling easier for everyone in all sections of the plane. 

For those of you who intend to travel soon, beware of your surroundings, follow the rules and hopefully you will get there and back without too many headaches. Just in case, pack the little travel bottle of ibuprofen!  LOL

Blessed be!

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