Flying in the past

by | Aug 10, 2017 | Shahnaz Blog (Previously They Throw Rocks)

Mom is leaving to India and her handbaggage weight restriction is 15 pounds.  Her empty hand baggage weighs 5 pounds.  So, technically, a person is only allowed 10 pounds of carry-on.  As my mom goes through all the options of carry ons, she was going with one that is 2 pounds without wheels.  I told her that was insane for an international flight as she’ll have to lug her baggage around and it would be an inconvenience.  She needs wheels.  Part of me is angry with the airline restrictions.  I get it.  We don’t want a 50lb carry on.  But with the 50 lb restriction in checked in luggage – moved down from 70 lbs of the past allowance, why are they restricting the carry on also.  Airplanes are technologically advanced to handle more weight and it begs the question of business over customer comfort and convenience.
I don’t recall weighing the checked baggage.  There was one time in London when we were going to Umra and an obnoxious woman was giving us a hard time.  She swore they would weight our carry-ons once we were inside and then it would be trouble there.  She lied.  We knew they wouldn’t and they didn’t.  All because we left the area of transit and went out to look for my brother who had either missed his plane or worse yet, was still stuck in the US.  I guess technology today is good with wifi and text messaging, but those days we had to retrace steps to find someone.  The point is that we felt very inconvenienced by the airlines.  While they should have tried to help us, they were just giving us a hard time.  Also, they were exercising a power, just because they had it.  It’s like spiderman, spinning webs and hurting people, because he could.  With great power comes great responsibility.  Maybe she hadn’t heard of that.
I still remember that woman who wouldn’t let us get back in until our weight restrictions were taken care of.  I don’t remember what we did.  I think I had to take my winter coat out of my hand baggage and wear it.  And I stuffed the pockets with as much as possible.  When the weight was sufficient for her, she let us through only for me to put my coat and everything back in my carry-on when we were out of her sight.  Funny thing how the really mean people in your life are burned in your brain.  I know it’s not a good thing but I can still feel the hate I felt for her.  I figure it was a control thing.  She had the control and she could use it any way she could and she chose to be inconsiderate.  The good thing is I learned.  You cannot use your power to be rude to people just because you can.  But some people, I feel in the airline industry, behave like the prison guards of Zimbardo’s prison experiment.  I’m getting off track here, but other than that random bad experience, flying in the past was pretty much enjoyable.
911 put the kibosh on all of that.  Weight allowances decreased over time.  Checked baggages started getting charged while carryons were restricted.  Feels like an intentional squeeze by the airline industry.  They did say gas prices were going up?  Sure.  That was a few years back.  Gas prices have long since come down and airline prices haven’t done so correspondingly.  If gas didn’t spike the prices, what did?  Greed?
Watching my mom be super careful about her packing weight makes me upset.  It’s not like she had a super large carry-on but it really doesn’t take much to make a carry on out of airline range.  I have seen campers bring on these huge back-packs on flights.  Nothing said about that.  Today, I wonder if they can do that.  Mom was told that they do weight the carry-ons.  Everything is strict.  I wonder if she should just get weight credit for being under 200lbs.  Whatever.
Air travel has changed.  I keep thinking that it may one day get better, but I doubt it.  I still long for the times pre-911 when families could wait at the gate until one boarded the plane.  And liquid restriction?  What’s that?  Here’s to warm memories as we step into our uncertain world.  If something as simple as flying can be so complicated, what about things that are truly complex?
Best to you all,


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