May 11, 2010
rant plus praise
If you've followed me long, you know that one of my biggest loves (and vices) is travel. You also know that two of my biggest peeves are baggage fees and people who carry-on luggage. My quick explanation/rant: I understand the fees - they're a huge revenue source for airlines, so I know they won't be going away. I don't mind paying for extras: food or even a soda, headphones, extra legroom, or a pillow or blanket (which I think are unnecessary anyway.) I even don't mind paying for a second bag; but one bag is generally necessary for any travel. A purchased ticket should get you and a bag to your destination. When I flew in the first days after the liquids scare when no one was allowed to carry-on anything, I discovered how much nicer travel was without carry-ons. We boarded and de-planed that entire plane in less than 5 or 10 minutes - which after all is a benefit to the airlines to make on-time departures and turn planes around for the next flight. Plus, people weren't fighting for space and banging peoples heads and bumping each other. It was pleasant (what a concept). That reason alone has kept JetBlue and Southwest among my favorite airlines. Delta was already my favorite among legacy carriers, (which doesn't say a lot because flying United or American is nothing but dismal every time I try.) For whatever reason, I've had good luck and generally pleasant flights when flying Delta (I know not everyone has). Last week, Delta announced a new benefit for American Express Skymiles cardholders: a first checked bag free for any Delta flight (starting June 1.) You don't even have to pay with the card, just be a cardholder. Since I am one, that's huge for me. I already try to bank Skymiles in hopes of using them for a flight to Europe every fall (and Delta's partnerships with KLM and Air France always made for my best options for that.) However, Delta has doubled the miles needed for an International flight from two years ago, so its looking questionable whether I'll be able to use them this year. Thankfully, the waived baggage fee perk gives me reason to keep Delta on my favored list. And I've already purchased a ticket to fly them since the announcement. As much as I bitch about airlines and flying, this perk is a move deserves some praise.
update: It seems that American Express has been doing some questionable practices with members accounts based on changes they just made to my account a few days after posting this; and from finding many similar stories from a Google search. So, proceed with caution if considering a SkyMiles American Express account.
Posted by Jon Berry at 11:29 PM