More Travel Woes as the Economy Grows
10/9/2009 4:31:59 PM
Find out how to avoid the upcoming travel hassles as the economy picks up.
By Latasia Brown
As the year winds down and the economy attempts to rev itself back up again, industries of all sorts are still suffering; one of the industries that took a harder hit than expected was the travel and tourism industry. From hotels and airline companies to convention visitor bureaus and actual countries’ economies, every sect of the traveling industry has hit a slow downward spiral over the past year. Unfortunately, due to this downturn, the everyday traveler will be footing some of the bill – in more ways than one.
Money Money Money
Delta Air Lines Inc. is implementing a $10 surcharge to one-way holiday flights. This will be a 13-day program that will include these dates: Nov. 29-30, Dec. 19, 26, 27, Jan. 2-3, March 14, 20, 21, 28, April 11 and May 28. Other airlines have followed suit, including AMR Corp.’s American Airlines, Northwest, Continental, United Airlines, AirTran Airways and US Airways Group Inc. Although $10 doesn’t seem like much, take a look at what the overall cost will turn out to be after you fork up $20+ for checking in baggage, cost of parking, etc. Before you know it, you’ve racked up a pretty penny, definitely more than what you first anticipated on spending. And since the checking-in of baggage is going to cost you a bit now, airlines are beginning to offer subscription fees. United Airlines is offering a bag fee subscription plan that will cost $250/year for premier baggage – this will allow you to check two standard bags and also covers the baggage charges for up to eight people if all traveling on the same confirmation number. However, the subscription will not cover oversized or overweight luggage.
Unfortunately, the only way to avoid extra costs like these when traveling is to pack light, and be extra travel conscience. Book travel dates outside of those 13 with a surcharge. Travel lighter; try to pack efficiently by keeping your luggage to a maximum of two bags. That way, you won’t have to pay any check-in fees, plus you won’t have to wait forever for your luggage at the baggage claim – looks like a win/win to us.
Time After Time
In addition to vacuuming your wallet, the time you spend getting from one destination to another via plane will only increase due to an increase in delay times. Everyone is used to, and annoyed by, airline delays. Unfortunately, these delay times are only going to increase as the economy picks back up again. According to the Brookings Institution, there’s been a 20-year-trend of increasing delays, which means we’ll be due for another significant increase in our delay times just as economic growth returns. They also reported that delayed flights of at least two hours have more than doubled to 10.1% in May 2009, since 1990 (4.3%).
So what can we do to keep our travel frustrations at a low? When booking connector flights, try to connect to smaller airports. The smaller airports tend to have a more steady flow of air traffic versus the larger international airports. Every city has smaller, less busy airports, use their size, and hence their lack of population, to your advantage and make your trip headache free.