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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Air Travel Drives Increase Use of Cars

I have a conspiracy theory.   Big Oil and the car manufacturers are paying the airlines to make air travel as inconvenient and uncomfortable as possible.   This drives consumers to get in their car and drive to their destination rather than suffering the indignities of airline cattle chutes, micro seats and air fare roulette. 

Admittedly at 6' 2" I am a hair bigger than average.   That fact does not predispose me to paying more than three times the average fare to fly "first class" in order to actually get some leg room.   Face it, who wouldn't want to suck on their own knees for hours to get to destinations too far to drive their car. 

While cattle prods are not used (yet) to organize the lines at the airport, the attitude of the TSA folks and airline employees indicate that the paying customer is an annoyance rather than the reason they have jobs.

Air fare roulette is not as fun as it sounds.   Exploring air fares from Pennsylvania to Florida was an interesting exercise of the proverbial shell game. Not only did I find different fares on different websites, I found different fares on different days and I actually found different fares on the same websites with only minutes difference in my exploration.   The "only three seats left at this fare" type of admonishment appeared on multiple days for the same flights which leads one to never believe what the airlines are claiming.  What adds to the fun is that some web sites show fares with all the taxes and some don't increasing the intentional confusion.  Then there is the luggage game.   This airline says luggage flies free, the next one says our rates are lower so even though we charge for luggage you save money.   If you pay more you can get an aisle seat or a seat on the escape row or a bulkhead or even a free pass to the restroom!  

The most frustrating thing about this entire air travel debacle is THAT WE PUT UP WITH IT!  If we the consumers just decided, we will skip flying to grandma's for Christmas this year to make a statement to the airlines.  If we refuse to pony up big bucks to be treated as second
class citizens for a third world experience crowded cheek to jowl in tight rows with grumpy flight attendants, perhaps the lack of customers would make the airlines take notice.   Of course as long as they are being subsidized by the Great Airline Conspiracy of Big Oil and car manufacturers they will continue to pound the round consumer into their square little seats.

Me, I'm driving my car on my next trip with my seat back as far as it goes and my legs stretched out and saving money as I do it.

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