What do you hate about travel? And is there any way to fix the problem, besides staying home?
For Brett Manders, the answer to “what drives you crazy?” is simple. “The carousel cozy-uppers,” he says. You know, the folks who crowd around the baggage carousel after a flight lands.
“I’m 100% certain that your bags will not come out any quicker the closer you are to the baggage carousel,” says Manders, an international airline pilot who wrote the book “Behind the Flight Deck Door.”
The solution – at least to this problem – is simple, too. Some airports draw a line around the carousel and tell everyone to stand back until their luggage arrives.
As the busy holiday travel season begins, let’s talk about our travel annoyances and how to fix them. There are no reliable surveys that examine the entire travel experience, from planning to arrival. But you already know what grates against your nerves, right?
Hate to plan? Here’s the fix
Travelers love to hate vacation planning, for example. Rey Alton, a travel advisor with Travel Leaders in Houston, says your anger is justified.
When air travelers go all DIY, they often purchase tickets they don’t understand. “I see this issue arise more and more,” he says. “Basic economy fares don’t allow you to choose a seat, and to upgrade to a confirmed seat assignment can be pricey.”
I think the fix for this problem is pretty straightforward: Make these stripped-down “basic” fares illegal. I mean, who doesn’t fly with a bag or need a seat assignment? Whose plans never change? Not mine!
Meantime, people like Alton – professional vacation planners – are the solution. A travel pro will keep you far, far away from these absurd airline tickets.
Travelers hate lines, too
How about long lines? Do those annoy you? Sure they do. I spoke with dozens of frequent travelers who loathe lines more than anything. “One of my least favorite things about traveling is waiting in line for TSA checks,” says John Linden, a furniture designer from Los Angeles. “I understand that it’s for our safety. Ultimately, that’s a good thing. But no one wants to stand in line for 45 minutes.”
Airports with the worst TSA lines: These are the days and times you’ll want to avoid
The solution: Hire more agents and add them at the busiest times. But the government moves even slower than those TSA lines, so good luck with that one.
In the meantime, passengers like Linden are applying for known traveler programs like TSA PreCheck, Global Entry and CLEAR. That should move things along.
Interested in TSA PreCheck? It might soon be cheaper and easier to sign up
Renewing or applying for airport fast pass Global Entry? Brace for lengthy delays
Travelers can’t stand travel industry deception
Travelers want the unvarnished truth. Consider what happened to Lauren Wolfe, an attorney in Washington, when she tried to book a hotel in Florida a few years ago. She discovered that after she selected the hotel online, it added a mandatory $25 per night charge. “I said to myself, ‘This has got to be illegal,'” she told me.
The hotels say it is legal. “Resort fees,” which cover extras like the use of a gym and “free” Wi-Fi, are common in the hotel business. Wolfe started a site called Killresortfees.com and made it her mission to destroy the fees. And that’s the long-term solution to these unwanted extras. There ought to be a law.
Congress takes on ‘hidden fees’ at hotels and resorts: Here’s what it could mean for travelers
Keep an eye out: These are the most ridiculous travel fees to look out for
The new norm in Las Vegas resort fees? $50 a night at top hotels
No wonder we arrive exhausted when we’re on vacation
Is it any wonder that travelers arrive at their destination exhausted? It’s the indignities we suffer in transit. That’s what you hate about travel.
The travel industry thinks suffering is a normal part of the travel experience. So it doesn’t hesitate to sell you an airline ticket with stupid restrictions or a hotel room with an outrageous fee. It doesn’t care if you have to wait in a long line. Or if you can’t figure out how to plan your trip online without losing your shirt.
None of this should happen. The travel industry ought to set the standard for customer service. But until they do, at least we know we’re in this together.
How to handle the hate
Take a deep breath. That’s the advice of Christine Scott-Hudson, a licensed psychotherapist. “Your deep, long breaths stimulate your vagus nerve,” she says. That, in turn, promotes feelings of general well-being and safety.
Take inventory of your situation. Put your problem into perspective. Your trip will eventually end. You’ll be home, far away from the stress of holiday travel. Might as well take another deep breath while you’re at it. That’s right. Breathe in. Breathe out. There you go.
Take action. If you experienced something that made you hate to travel, try to eliminate it from your trip. Whether you’re starting a site to protest resort fees, or just avoiding an airline or hotel in the future – do something.