Let me start by saying, I initially wrote this blog while on my flight home from England to Boston a few weeks ago. My mood changed dramatically not only in flight but since – there are worse things in the world right? I hesitated a number of times on whether to post but decided on posting. I am not a negative blogger. I leave that to others, I can however be negative, as most of us can and this past trip, which by the way was wonderful, sent me down a little bit of a negative spiral.
I am fed up with “hidden” airline charges. Just completely done with it. Let me pick on one of them… British Airways! Do you know how hard this is for my little British heart, but I feel I must speak my piece.
I was traveling to Rome for a wedding and then on to see my family in England. Completely hunky dory on the trip from Boston to Rome, except for the fact that I was not emailed to tell me the connection flight from JFK to Rome had changed from 6.55pm to 4.05pm, giving me less than 40 minutes to make the connection. That is the good part, I made my flight – all good.
So, it would seem British Airways does not allow you to book a seat any more when you are mere “coach” traveler. In fact, you have to pay even more, $100s in fact, depending on when you want to book. The earlier you feel you need a seat, the more it costs – of course. Really! I am an “A type” personality – I need my seat assignment! Waiting until 24 hours before is far too stressful.
Outgoing was fine. No charges for bags (it was an American Airlines co-share – that may have been the difference). No extra charges for seats. However, leaving Rome for London, I didn’t have time, nor the inclination to book my seat. I was having too much of a good time enjoying Rome. I figured, given that they have my seat preference and I paid a large amount (at least for me) of money for a coach seat I was okay. Well!!!!! No! They actually told me there were no seats at all on the flight left upon arrival in Rome. England is where my family is so I just stood there and said, very politely… “sorry I am not leaving, I booked my flight four months ago and I need to see my family.” She looked again and said… “we have a middle seat back row.” Well it’s a seat right? I was not happy but it got me home.
Upon return to Boston I got so panicked I decided to book a seat in advance, costing me $49 – not a lot I know but still. This was a 36 hour advance seat – any earlier and I would have paid $100 -$200 – who knows. I was not happy but felt safe in the fact that I had a seat. I arrived at the airport and with just four kilos overweight baggage I was charged $65~ (GPB to $). I was mad but kept calm and handed over my credit card. I bought nothing and my bag weighed the same. If you can believe this, I told the check-in person that I got my bags free on my inbound flight and she said “nothing is for free!” She is so right. I got over it. It’s fine, baggage charges happen but really, why?
I got onto the gigantic BA plane to Boston. I like big planes, I feel safer in them. I sadly walked past the upper first class stairs and the almost empty first class cabin to the absolute desolate main cabin, coach area, only to be told later they had more than 200 empty seats! Really! Do I sound like SNL yet?
Let me add a positive here. I got all three seats to myself and I used all of them with stretching out my legs, bags, little wine glasses and anything else I could put on them. The flight attendants were absolutely wonderful and attentive, customer service was above and beyond. I talked to a few of them about movies, especially Silver Linings Playbook – how fantastic is that movie? I cannot negatively judge the BA crew whatsoever, my issue is with the airlines.
Why all these charges? I would be so happy just being kept in the dark of hidden charges of extra taxes, surcharges, seat charges, bag charges and the list goes on. My friend just told me she was charged for tea on Aer Lingus… seriously a cup of tea. It just makes me sad and flying is such a wonderful, extraordinary thing to do when we are so far away from loved ones, friends, weddings and fabulous vacations. It should be a joy and not a pang of pain that the cost of paying, literally, is not over. Sometimes there are even charges that hit after the trip.
So, as I said, I am over my extra $100 charges and almost no seat at all now, but I can’t help but be bothered by all of this in general. This adds negativity to what is to be something amazing – a trip is amazing right? Am I way off base here?
A service announcement… Sorry for this negative Life-Food-Wine post.