And others agree. At the end of her story, as if reality was peaking out from behind the clouds of lousy reporting, Stellin finally quotes a few ungrateful deviants who—get this—are not so thrilled about paying more for the same crappy service. One guy now forks out hundreds of dollars a trip to ship his heavy travel bags with FedEx. The airline bag fees are far cheaper, but the service is poor and unreliable. A married couple say that, even though they have elite status and can check bags for free, they carry-on because checking them is “a nightmare.” And a spokeswoman for the Association of Flight Attendants informs Stellin that cabin crews have had to work harder to accommodate the uptick in carry-on luggage.
So, basically, everybody that Stellin talked to, except the airlines, complained about bag fees and baggage handling services. Yet the headline of her story is still that people are “living” with the fees and possibly even “enamored” of them.
Hogwash (and you know which word I’d rather use). The only thing that kept me sane after reading Stellin’s bilge was a wonderfully nostalgic column on the Times’s opinion page from Ann Hood, an author who was a T.W.A. flight attendant for eight years. In it, she bemoans the frustrations of holiday travel and writes poignantly about a bygone era “when to fly was to soar. [And] The airlines, and their employees, took pride in how their passengers were treated.”
I know what she means. Journalism used to be more helpful, too.