Fees. Delays. Long lines. Awful customer service. Invasive, humiliating, seemingly random security procedures. The list of annoyances and aggravations related to airline travel just grows and grows.
Every traveler uses some personal mental calculator to figure out when flying, driving, or hopping a train or bus makes the most sense for a given trip. The question is: Have things gotten so bad with air travel that you've recalibrated your personal equation?
Few people are going to board a train from New York to Chicago for a two-day business conference just because they're peeved by baggage fees and TSA checkpoints. But what about shorter-haul flights? Are you more inclined to drive or use ground-based public transportation on a trip that flying would have been a no-brainer in the past?
For that matter, are you shifting the kinds of vacations you're planning and the destinations you'll visit—because flying is more of a headache, less convenient, and less affordable than it's been in the recent past? An executive of an RV maker, for instance, quoted in a Wall Street Journal story about booming recreation vehicle sales, was quoted as saying:
"Our best commercial for our industry is the airlines," Robert J. Olson, chief executive of RV maker Winnebago Industries Inc., told analysts recently. "If you haven't gone on an airline lately, it's a real hassle."
But is it so much of a hassle that you're changing the way you travel, and even the places you travel to? Some travelers won't even consider flying anymore to anywhere within reasonable driving distance.
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