In general, there seems to be a growing fear when it comes to air travel.
Maybe it's been this way for a while and I ™m just now taking notice. As a frequent traveler myself, I think this fear is a bit silly. But to those caught in its grips, this fear is very, very real.
Many of you know what I ™m talking about, although you may not admit it. It begins at home as you're packing; the fear increasing in intensity as you near the airport. Once at the terminal, your palms become sweaty, grip tightening as you desperately try to avoid eye contact with airline employees.
Hello! Welcome to our airline. My I see your I.D.? Whew, you think to yourself “ dodged that!
Once through security you feel a bit more at ease. Things may be OK after all.
No one following, you find the gate and try to relax before the flight.
The loudspeaker disturbs your rest and suddenly your deepest fear surfaces as the airline attendant announces, We have a completely sold-out flight today. Since there is limited overhead storage space, we ™ll be happy to check your bag now at the counter.
Augh! They saw you! You and your over-stuffed 18-wheel deluxe carry-on. Honestly, what do you have in there? I can go to Europe for 2 weeks in a suitcase that size.
The attendant is kind yet firmly encourages passengers to check their bags now, before they board, only to discover there's no more room for luggage. She even promotes priority handling of said baggage, meaning your bag will reach the carousel before my bag, even though I checked mine ages ago at the check-in counter.
No one responds. It's like everyone is deaf. Many suddenly seem to have urgent phone calls, as they are all on cell phones in the hopes that this will provide them a cloak of invisibility .
The attendant scans your boarding pass and you hope she can't see the steamer trunk you're pulling behind you. Not to mention a computer bag.
I follow you down the jet-way. Another airline attendant is there, again offering the opportunity to unburden yourself of your bag. The offer of priority handling remains, and this time she sweetens the deal by offering to do your laundry too. Free ironing! Take her up on it, for heaven's sake!
Without making eye-contact you shake your head no . Can't possibly let this baby out of your sight, huh? What do you have in there “ the Ark of the Covenant?
I shake my head as I pass the attendant. She's probably wondering how many people will get injured as you try to maneuver that thing down the aisle.
As you reach your seat I can see the panic in your face as you realize the attendants were speaking the truth. There is NO overhead space available! Frantic, you head toward the back of the plane, opening bins in search of a spot for your trunk.
I ™m sorry, but all the bins are full. You ™ll have to take your bag to the front of the plane so we can check it.
Like we asked you a million times, is what I ™m sure the attendant would like to say. It's definitely what I want to say.
Now my fellow passengers and I have to back up to let you by, squeezing into the rows of other passengers or sitting on their laps to get out of your way. Why, oh why, didn't you do this in the first place? What on earth made you think a bag that large had any place inside the cabin? Is this your first airplane trip?
You return to your seat looking panicked without the security of your case. The attendant assures you it will be OK.
I hear others joking that they ™ll NEVER check their bags, as they sit with their knees up to their chest because their stuff is crammed under the seat and on the floor in front of them, taking up valuable leg room. What is up, people?
In my very well-traveled experience, reality seems to be that the majority of checked luggage arrives with the passenger at the desired location. At least mine has, including overseas trips where we changed planes. OK, every great once-in a while my suitcase decides to travel to a different destination than me. Inconvenient, yes, but I have any necessities with me in my backpack for just such a situation.
Besides, maybe my luggage needed a vacation. Luggage has needs, too, ya ™ know.
Everyone, let your fears subside. The rest of us want the plane to depart on time and your whining about lack of overhead space won't miraculously make more storage appear.
You know, maybe there's a job opportunity here for me. I could launch a twelve step program to assist travelers with LSAD – Luggage Separation Anxiety Disorder. Maybe I could write a book and go on the talk show circuit helping millions of people?
Nah, I ™d rather everyone just learn to deal with it and check their luggage.
Trust me; your luggage will be OK. Even if it does take a slightly different route.
© Tami Cannizzaro 2011 All Rights Reserved