Word on the street is that airline technology is moving in so that you can track your bag through messaging on your phone. That means that you don’t have to wait for half an hour at a baggage carousel when the airline already knows that your bag is not going to show. A simple alert, and you can head straight to baggage information.
But airlines are moving beyond this and want to eliminate that mess. You know, selecting what your bag looks like on an identity kit picture and filling out a silly form that is filed away (FYI: never lose your bag at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport!). So, this is an improvement. However, airlines get a whopping $4 billion per year in baggage fees. This is another way for them to give you false statistics. If you do not fill out the form and they inform you your bag is missing, you can alert them on where you would like to receive your bag. That means that your bag is not lost or missing but is simply “arriving for your convenience at your home address.” So they look a little more efficient than they are. They still charge you for the baggage fee. All they have done is change the goal post, make our lives a little better, and make themselves look fabulous.
I for one am all for avoiding the dreaded line at baggage services. That’s at least a two-hour killer right there. Frankly, the only reason that you should ever check your bag is if you’re skiing or emigrating.
Given the recent state of events, it’s not surprising that TSA is tightening its grip on the security checks at airports. There’s not just the possibility that we all may soon have to travel without our computers, but at the screening stage it looks as though we are headed to a process that has us separate the contents of our bags into different bins. The days of simply removing your liquids and creams into a separate bag may soon be over. Now there are going to be bins for jackets, belts, shoes, creams, liquids, plus paper and electronics. If you’re traveling, it probably makes sense to unclutter your bag. The more stuff that you have floating in that thing, the more likely it is that they will want to look inside it. That is what will cost you time and hold up the lines.
In addition, TSA is becoming super diligent on the two bag carry-on rule. I ran into a problem the other day at Logan Airport and had to quickly unzip my main bag and put my man bag inside of the main bag because I had a backpack as well. Of course, all of this is good as it is all planned to make us safe and secure when we fly. This always bring me to the question – why don’t more people apply for TSA Precheck or Global Entry? None of the rules that apply or are shortly to be launched will affect TSA Precheck.
That brings me to the last thing, airlines do a phenomenal job of screening passengers. Soon they will be able to determine through government issued ID whether you have a reason for them to be suspicious. Where is Amtrak in all of this? Take the Acela from Boston to New York or New York to Washington; a well-trafficked route and you wonder why they do not institute an x-ray machine and an ID check before you get onto the train. It’s not perfect but it seems in this ever security-concerned world that it would make smart dollar sense to invest in something here.
Incidentally, TSA has assured us that the extra security checks they are putting in place will be tested not just for security but also for speed for consumers. You almost wonder why people that fly on planes are not forced to get global clearance.
Long day at the Airport
Hotels always give out bad information on the time it takes to get from them to the airport. It’s not that they’re overly cautious, they’re just wrong. I just often wonder how many of the people who give us this advice, have actually ever been to the airport that they’re guiding us to. Case in point, Marmaris center to Dalaman airport. The journey takes less than an hour. Hotel advice is that it takes two hours and of course they recommend, given the problem of security, that you get to the airport at least 2.5 hours before departure. Of course it’s all about the rooms really. They wanted the bloody rooms! I should have known.
I hate being at airports too early. I am a “maximum of 1 hour before” guy. As it were, traveling is like marriage. Once you’ve been at it for while you become ever more inventive in your ways to keep it fresh. I like the excitement of possibly missing the flight. I like to see how fast I can move through security, how economically I can buy souvenirs (if I really have to) and it means I don’t have to spend endless hours drinking dreadful coffee and eating plastic sandwiches in some awful lounge.
So here I am, spending endless hours drinking dreadful coffee in some awful lounge, wondering why I fell for the bad information yet again. To add insult to injury, my flight to Istanbul, of course, is delayed. From Istanbul, to London there’s a change of terminals before connecting to Dublin. More delays. More plastic sandwiches. This day, a mélange of Turkish Air, British Airways and Aer Lingus, a feast of cultural diversity and sweaty planes (lovely), started at 6am in the morning. It will not end until Turkish time, 2pm the next day. In other words, Australia would have been a more convenient option and certainly more fun!