Monday, December 12, 2016

Observations On Travel

The Complementary Spouse and I recently got home from a quick trip to St. Louis. Our primary reason for this trip was to check up on my mother-in-law who is in a nursing home. When someone is 87 you know the time you have with them on this Earth is limited and you have to grab as much now as you can.

This trip to St. Louis was different than most as we flew. My brother-in-law Larry, the Delta captain, arranged for us to have "buddy passes". This worked out well as the flights we chose always had available seats. Indeed, on three out of the four flight segments we were seated in Comfort Class.

I'm not a road warrior that flies on a weekly basis but I do get in 2-3 trips by air yearly. I have some observations on travel based upon this trip. Your mileage may vary but this is what I found.

  • I always pack more clothes than I need. This trip I had two sweaters and a fleece vest because I was worried about the anticipated cold snap in St. Louis. I could have gotten by with just one sweater. Family doesn't care if you wear the same clothes day after day or not.
  • If you have a shoe fetish, you will love airport terminals. Some of the footwear chosen by women, while very stylish, seems really impractical when you have to deal with escalators and long walks to your gate. 
  • I always sleep better in my own bed with my own pillow. 
  • Gate agents are the key to getting good seats if you fly stand-by. I found the Delta gate agents very helpful.
  • The Southwest system of free checked baggage cuts down on carry-ons and lets the plane load quicker. Delta charges for checked baggage and most passengers push the limits on carry-ons.
  • The seats in Comfort Class don't seem any different than regular economy class. I understand that they are supposed to have more leg room. I can't really say as the one leg where we weren't in Comfort Class we were in the exit row. I love to sit in exit rows!
  • The International Terminal or Terminal F at Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is really nice! Our flight from Atlanta to Asheville boarded out of this terminal for some reason. Maybe they consider Asheville to be so unlike the rest of North Carolina that it is considered a foreign country.
  • The final observation - and this may be shocking - is that TSA personnel seem to have gotten a course in customer interactions. Unlike most other times, they were not surly. Both the document checker and the screeners were actually pleasant. I even got a compliment from one of the screening agents when I went through the "nudie machine" as my belt and watch were off and my pockets were completely empty. Maybe the election of Trump is already having consequences!


  1. I'd consider yourself lucky... And getting buddy passes DOES get you better 'service' than John Q. Public... Glad the trip went well though!

    1. I think my brother-in-law being a 28 year veteran of Delta probably does help with the gate agents. As to helping with TSA, I'm still trying to figure that one out.

  2. Some of the footwear chosen by women, while very stylish, seems really impractical when you have to deal with escalators and long walks to your gate.

    And really impractical if you have to make an emergency exit from the plane. I always wore serious shoes, boot before the TSA developed its own foot fetish, and have pretty much sworn off of flying after that first and I hope last post-9/11 round trip. (Helps that I live in the same town as my old relatives.)