Saint Teresa once compared traveling to Purgatory,  because the weather, the bumpy roads, and the bad beds were something to be suffered with rather than a pleasure trip.

The latest irritant? Charging for checked luggage.

Our family just visited (one adult, three kids), and only brought carry on back packs. No, Japan Airlines still doesn’t charge per bag, but some of their connecting flights did, so four bags at $20 each would have been too much for their budget (note: my husband paid for the ticket, but they had to pay for fees etc.)

Well, the problem of course is that lots of large carry on bags mean less leg room, and a safety hazard if the aircraft hits turbulance, but never mind.

I’ve done it both ways: carried a large purse for necessities but no bags, and had freedom to wander around during connections, but a wait after landing and the risk of losing my luggage,  versus carrying a single bag with everything and not having to wait for bags when I arrived at my destination, but the bother of toting a large bag all over the airport during connections.

But I travel light.

But what about those with kids?

And what if a family checked one HUGE bag with them, weighing 80 pounds or ten kg per person? Would that cost the same fee as one bag?

But of course this isn’t the only irritant.

Thanks to terrorism, we no longer can bring drinks with us on board. This includes bringing alcohol or soap to clean your hands (although handiwipes are allowed).

And so far, most airlines will allow you to bring aboard sandwiches and snacks, which is nice for those of us with blood sugar problems who have short connecting flights that don’t serve food.

But how long until we see airlines charging for carry on bags?

So airline travel continues to become less and less attractive to those of us who have no other choice.

So the next time you read about an “air rage” incident, I wonder if you will blame the passenger or an airline system that keeps cutting down on things that make travel tolerable for it’s customers.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines.

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