I couldn’t really think of a title for this post that wasn’t 20 words long and I guess “the travel industry needs to change” just about sums it up for me. I have been ranting in my head about the travel industry for a while now and thought I should finally get them out of my head and down onto paper.
In a post Covid, and Brexit, landscape it is safe to say that the travel industry has taken a battering. Redundancies, closures, cancellations, it’s been one of the worst hit industries in the past few years and now as the world returns to a new normal we are being urged to support the travel industry more than ever.
Yet I am still reluctant to do so, and not just because of Covid.
The travel industry has sucked the joy out of travel.
There. I have said it. Before Covid hit we were avid travellers and were lucky enough to do one or maybe two overseas trips a year. And in a post Covid landscape I appreciate that my moaning about travel is making me look like a dick. I understand my privilege, now more than ever, and appreciate I should just suck it up as I am lucky to be able to travel at all. I get that. Truly, I do. But at the same time, we are in a position to be able to travel and therefore it is what we like to do. Yet with borders not pretty much open to all we still haven’t.
Well this weekend was a prime example and it reminded me of my thoughts on the travel industry even before the past two years happened. This weekend Mr B headed off for the weekend with a couple of mates from school on a trip that had been postponed for the past couple of years. Flying out of Heathrow meant it was an easy drop off for me to do, we can do the round trip in a little over an hour. To do so now though costs £5 if you want to do what the French call “Kiss and Fly”. A drop off at Heathrow that lasts less than £2 costs you £5. Why? I have no idea.
The pick up three days later cost me £11.40 to park for an hour. Had Mr B had luggage that needed to be collected it would have been longer than that and cost me even more. £11.40 for the privilege of parking for an hour.
Then we get to the booking process itself. When I first started flying it was a given that you would be taking a suitcase. Who can go away for two weeks, or even a week, without a suitcase? Especially if you are heading on a holiday that necessitates more than a pair of shorts and a swimming costume. We went to Iceland for five days and each had a large suitcase packed with jumpers, socks and thermals. Even Mr B who has just done this weekend away with the smallest holdall you ever saw. So it is a real shame that many airlines now see charging for a suitcase as another way to get money out of customers. In a race to be the lowest fare they are cutting corners to shave money off where they can but when you add the charges up they are back to where they started, so why not just include the fees in the first place?
See also food on the flight? Many charge for it now. Part of the joy of going on holiday, paying hard earned cash for a trip that you have saved for months to go on, is the journey itself. It isn’t just about the destination and being away, it is the getting there. Charging £2.50 for a cup of tea in a paper thimble kind of takes the edge off some of that joy. As does one of my biggest bugbears.
Charging you to “guarantee you sit next to your companion”. Why? Why if two people book a flight can those two people not be sat next to each other? Because the airline see it as a way to take more money off you, that’s why. It makes me rage that you either run the risk of not being sat next to your partner/kids or you pay out close to £100 for the “privilege”. Honestly I think there is little that makes me angrier about travel than this.
That truly sucks the joy out any holiday. The fact you can’t sit next to your travelling companion, enjoy a drink together, maybe watch the same film, finalise plans for what you want to do that week because you didnt pay the extra £40 infuriates me.
Seriously, travel industry if you are reading this. Please think about how you are treating passengers. We get that you need to recoup losses after the last few years, but we need to enjoy our holidays too and not think we are being screwed for every penny.
The airline that sits me next to my family, lets me check in my luggage and gives me a cuppa whilst only charging me a single airfare is the airline that gets my money. Every time.