The Suitcase Lady


October 6, 2015, 9:19 pm

I propose a moment of silence to remember the dear departed known as travel agents. Once upon a time, a phone call to them stating your travel destination and budget would bring a fat envelope to your mailbox a few days later. Plane tickets, hotel and car reservations, itineraries and travel tips all would be neatly arranged in a packet……at no charge.

Sadly, the airlines have sacrificed travel agents on their corporate altar of greed. We are forced to be our own travel agents. Anyone who flies now knows the hours of time wasted in securing a fairly priced ticket.

The nightmare is compounded by the fact that the airlines no longer have any set fares. The price varies from minute to minute based on what the market will bear. Gotcha!

One quick story will illustrate what ludicrous heights this situation has reached.

My husband and I were relaxing after dinner Friday enjoying our last sips of wine and beer. In a mellow mood, I said to my guy, “What cities have we never seen but would like to visit…….Calgary, for instance?”

We decided to check the airfares to Calgary. Bear in mind, we weren’t expecting any bargains. Americans hardly comprehend that Canada exists up there, and Calgary is not an airline hub.

The following is one of the first itineraries that popped up:IMG_2435

  1. Chicago O’Hare to Houston
  2. 23 hour 55 minute layover
  3. Houston to Heathrow London
  4. 1 hour 25 minute layover
  5. London to Calgary

The trip was on Austrian Airlines, took three days to get there and covered 10, 441 miles. The price was $9,655 for one ticket in coach or $19,310 if we both wanted to go.

I do believe America has turned into dystopia and our prime job now is to keep our sanity. Someday, we will pack a bag and a cooler of food, hop in our Fiat 500 and drive the 1,515 miles to Calgary.

2 Comments for this entry

  • Karen Little on Facebook

    I doubt that a travel agent could have helped. In preparation for retiring, I seriously considered being an agent and, in fact, still dabble in the dream. I know that the online services have been combined, but even though Expedia owns I use extensively. It is what got us through our 6 week road trip through France and introduced us to the fabulous Pierre and Vacance. After 6 calls, my husband rented a car in France at 50% lower cost than publically posted *with* a GPS, which is sometimes hundreds of dollars extra. And we got our air fair at, which had absolutely terrific human service when we needed it.

    Today, travel agents are an important link for “family” or “group” travel (a real headache, but the agents make good commissions.

    Pricing for far away places is expensive and sometimes, connections, awful. Fortunately, today’s airline software allows for layovers (although you can call in for human help). Taking a trip by hops is an interesting way to see stuff along the way of a flight plan.

  • Liz Levins

    yup. that’s why herb and i drove to bentonville AR. we met up with the folks from mam, who flew via minneapolis. 11 hours full stop on the return trip. a more leisurely trip down over 2 days, with a stop in st louis. books on cd helped.