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This is a topic that could be written about ad nauseam, and it has been.
I like to think back to a simpler time, a time when the Golden Age of air travel was just that….Golden! Now the Golden Age of air travel has flown.
Wave goodbye to people dressing nice to fly.
Wave goodbye to real flatware to eat with on a flight.
Wave goodbye to real suitcases as luggage, and bags being checked for free.
Wave goodbye to drunken Hen or Stag parties fling off somewhere…whoooo….wait. That does happen….still.
Say hello to crowded seating. And limited carry-on bags, in addition to sizes. But I am getting ahead of myself.
I remember when people smoked on planes, wow!
There is so much that has changed with air travel, and the costs, even over the past 15 years, where to begin?
Let’s Start With Security
Many moons ago, security for flights was non-existent, or at best very minimal. Then began a continual series of hijacking flights, and more security was added. Needless to say after 9/11 and also after someone tried to smuggle a liquid bomb onboard a plane in 2006, security now is very tight.
It also is much more efficient due to the technology available, but in some airport you still need to remove your shoes and belts.
It is for our own safety, and that is the best way to look at it.
There can be times when it gets to be work, make sure all liquids are in a small clear bag or container, shoes off, belts off, computers out of their bags or cases, everything out of your pockets, etc. By the time I get through security, I feel like I need to get completely dressed, and I am tripe checking to make sure I have everything.
A frequent flier’s side note:
If you can fly without a computer, life is easier.
You have your computer, the lead, the computer needs a soft case to travel in, then you may take a small drive for backups, we can tos in some other electronics, your mobile, a Kindle, headphones, MP3 player, the electronic list can go on and on.
These items take up space, and add weight to your baggage.
Rant…side note over.
You have to wonder, who invented “fast-track” security lines? Just another way for airports to make money, and sometimes that £4 or £5 extra is money well spent.
You zip through security waving goodbye to your friends stuck in economy security.
There are times when I have seen the fast-track security lines longer than the regular security lines. I guess it is all about timing.
Ticket prices are a wild card, who knows how this pricing science of airfares is decided, or what algorithm is used??
There are many people and web sites that state they have the answer, do this, don’t book on thee dates or times, the hints and guides are fast and furious.
You can read more tips, some of which I use and seem to work, here.
But now, with no further ado, the real star of the show or this piece, drum roll……….baggage!
Baggage Costs – Sizes – Fees – Navigating Choppy Baggage Skies
One area airlines now use to make money, a lot of money, is fees for bags, and being strict about the bags they allow.
Many airlines are “digital” now. Budget airlines like Easyjet, Ryanair and others, allow you to book your flights, and do just about everything yourself online. They say, this is what allows them to offer such cheap fares.
And some of their fares are cheap. Many airlines also use serge or demand pricing. The more people buying seat, the higher the price go. The last few seats left, can cost much more than other seats sold before them.
Airlines have also made it increasing difficult to know how to pack, due to their luggage allowances changing periodically.
I state the airlines drive the luggage manufacturers as when the airlines change their baggage policies, we need to buy new bags.
Here is the issue:
If you can travel light, real light, with just a 40x25x20 bag, you can get this bag on the plane with you with most airlines. The real issue is if you need more than 1 change of clothes, or forbid you need to take a computer. That is where is can get tricky.
However, the airlines know this and want to be our friend, so they offer “priority” seating and boarding, for an extra small fee. Actually in some instances it is a small fee, £4 or as much as £8, with some airlines.
For this extra fee, you get to board first, and you are allowed your personal item, like a handbag or small laptop case, in addition to a small carry-on piece of luggage. Your carry-on must fir in the overhead bin, your personal item under the seat in front of you.
Another side note:
I flew a budget airline a few weeks ago, and paid for priority boarding to board first, and bring an extra carry-on bag.
My partner and I got on the plane, went to our assigned seats, and I noticed all the overhead bins were full, but there were only 3 other people in our section. I announced rather loudly to my partner, “how do all the overhead bins fill up so quickly with so few people on the plane!?”
Immediately after my short but succinct announcement, all 3 people got up and took bags out of the overhead bins, and put them under the seat in front of them. They all wanted the leg room and figured no one would notice they put both bags overhead.
Baggage Size Issues
The one other issue here is the sizes of bags you are allowed to bring onboard. Some airlines allow one size, while others only allow only smaller sizes. I have seen where one airline allows cases 40sm wide, while another states 35cm wide is the maximum.
Sure you can chance it, but if you are called to use the dreaded “sizer” for your bag, you could be caught out. Which means you will pay, and pay dearly. In some instances £60 or more to have your bag that does not fit the size, checked.
If you had checked the bag online when you booked your tickets, it could have cost you half that fee, maybe less than half.
Then there is the weight restrictions, which I understand. Planes fly in the air, and the pilots and airlines need to calculate weight, for fuel consumption, and also take off speeds and other considerations.
My thinking is, who cares how large a bag is, it is the weight that is the real issue. Naturally carry-on luggage needs to fit, and for some planes there is only so much space in bins to be had.
You need to know where you are travelling to, what you need to pack, and the airlines policy on bags.
Personally me, I begin researching all this, and doing “dry packing runs” months before a trip. Some trips I have down to a science, specific bags for specific airlines and destinations.
Then the airlines make a change!
You can read various airlines baggage policies using the links below.