Personal Reflections on Air Travel Changes

Looking back on the previous year I realized that the travel world has changed me.

After decades of showing up 1 hour before my flight (and that’s for international flights, mind you) now I end up showing up so early – I have 2 hours at the gate.

I credit that to ElAl.

A good friend of mine showed up 2+ hours before his flight to Madrid and made it to check in with plenty of time to spare. Unfortunately for him, the flight was overbooked. Rather than bump a happy bumpee, they dug up the fine print and informed my friend that he did not show up on time. Don’t worry – the story has a happy ending.

For ElAl. Not for my friend, who was shipped to Barcelona and had to find his own way to Madrid. Cost – 1/2 day of vacation and at least $500. So, now I get there 3 hours before the flight. I am a changed man.

Second big change was reported in the New York Times.

Not about me, personally, but about the average traveller is ditching the web and booking flights through their travel agent. For the first time, I called a travel agent and had them do all the work. Changed flights ten times, paid later, speak to a human – it was all new for me and quite refreshing. (Kind of like my 8 year old kid discovering the VCR – you just put the tape in and press play. What a great idea! No menu! No scratched disk! No Estonian subtitles! – Just play the movie.) I actually had a good travel agent honest enough to tell me if I could get it cheaper online. But, I must admit that I still enjoy using the Western Union hold from time to time in online bookings.

And of course, if you need to decide where to do your Hannukah shopping on Long Island – at Roosevelt Field Mall or at Smithhaven Mall – you need the web. Or for conditions at Mt Baldy Ski Resort. If you just like reading blogs – try this travel blog and this vacation blog.

I guess this is a good place to introduce my readers to Josh Herst – blogger and Web entrepreneur, founder of TripHub. For our Canadian readers – check out this post with a rabbi’s experiences in the Canadian tundra (that’s a bit north of Hampstead, eh?).
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