The Hidden Costs of Transportation

A number of family members visited us over the holidays, and I ended up having to ship gifts, ski clothes, etc., back to them.  Some of them stayed almost a week, which we appreciated because we live great distances from them and with everyone working [which, as I’ve mentioned before, more and more often requires more and more time and effort for those who have jobs and wish to keep them], we don’t get to see them often.  Staying longer does require a few more clothes, especially in the case of small children, even though our washing machine was busy at many times, and more clothes means more weight.  More weight means checked suitcases… and since Southwest doesn’t fly to Cedar City, checked bags add to the cost of travel.

Then I recalled that, at one time, a little over ten years ago, a checked bag was not only free, but you could put 60 pounds of clothes and gear in it, rather than the current 50 pounds. That ten pound reduction doubtless reduced the strain on baggage handlers, and most probably accounted for some fuel savings – and cost savings – for the airlines.  All in all, though, these cost-savings measures for the airlines add to the cost for the traveler.  They also add to the inconvenience, since the overhead luggage bins are not adequate for all the carry-ons if a flight is full – and most are these days.  Then, too, there are the charges for seats with slightly more leg-room, and the elimination of in-flight meals in coach [often replaced with a “menu” of items for which the costs are just short of exorbitant].

Airport security also adds to the time spent in travel – from an additional 30-45 minutes at small airports to more than an hour at major hubs. And time is money, meaning that the more security agents on duty [to reduce waiting] the higher the cost to government.

Then I discovered that, because December 26th was a holiday this year, all the packages we’d hoped to ship back to the various coasts on Monday had to wait until Tuesday, and one of my sons and I wasted gas and money to discover that – because the local shippers never said that they were closed – they just left messages on their telephones that they were busy and asked us to leave messages or to call back.  Now, except for the various layers of government, banks, and the stock market, most other businesses – except for the shippers – were open, obviously believing that Sunday, December 25th, was the holiday, and not Monday.

Given the “efficiency,”  “effectiveness,” and self-centeredness of government, banks, and financiers, to find shippers following their lead gave me a very disconcerted feeling… and, well… you all know what I think about government, banks, and financiers, not to mention the airline industry.


2 thoughts on “The Hidden Costs of Transportation”

  1. Robert The Addled says:

    The ‘more gear to for the longer duration’ makes me think of the ‘too much stuff’ lecture in Adiamante.

    During my days in submarines – other than socks and underwear – coveralls that were worn for several days at a time – specifically to reduce the wear and tear and water usage you mentioned.

    In the western world – that kind of spartan utility is unfortunately limited mainly to military in the field/deployed and to astronauts.

  2. Steve says:

    I rarely travel by air but recently flew to Alaska. I stepped up to my airline’s desk only to be told by an unoccupied attendant that since I wasn’t a premium member I needed to go to a kiosk and check myself in. This was one change among many since I last flew. Having previously been treated well I was suprised by the lack of service currently offered standard passengers.

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