Friday, April 10, 2015

Flying in 2015

I'm flying to San Diego next week for work. This will be the first time I'll have been in an airplane in seven years. (I always drive instead of fly when I can, but...can't really drive to San Diego in a timely manner. I'll gladly take advantage of the fact that two airplane rides can get me from Durham to San Diego in just eight hours.)

How much has the airline industry changed in the last seven years? I did my research so that I'm prepared. I've gathered that the two most drastic changes are:

- No more "turn off all electronic devices until such and such time", right? Not only that, many flights - including all four of my flights - will have in-flight wi-fi, for a price. Smartphone wi-fi access for shorter flights is only $2 on Delta, apparently. Don't know what it'll cost for my cross-country flight, but I'm thinking that if it's $10 or less, it'll be worth it, especially since I'll be stuck in a middle seat, and because I have zero interest in the in-flight movies. But then will my phone battery last that long? Well, here's another recent development: Many major airports have installed phone charging stations.

- Baggage fees. I think these were just starting to take hold last time I flew in 2008. Now, they're standard. EVERY checked bag costs money now, at least on Delta (which is what I'm flying). Of course, my employer would foot the bill for my baggage fees (I assume), but it has always better to carry-on if you could anyway. No waiting at the baggage conveyor afterwards; no chance of your luggage getting lost. (Very small sample size, but I've never had the "so-and-so airline lost my luggage" experience.) Now there's even more incentive to carry-on. I haven't figured out if I can fit all of my stuff in a small enough bag for carry-on yet, but if I do have to check a bag, at least I'll get those printed labels with the airport code on it as a souvenir. I've always liked those. At least, I'm assuming those are still a thing.

Also, food is no longer complimentary, it seems; I'll have to pay for it separately. We'll see how the timing works out. And, I'm assuming that security screenings are even more intrusive than they were back then. Other than that, I'm not expecting much to have changed since 2008.

By the way, I have never been to San Diego County before. Hooray for new counties! Even if it's only one.

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