Posted on April 3, 2013 by Blane Bachelor
By now, you’ve surely heard about Samoa Air, a tiny airline in the Pacific Islands, and its newly implemented pay-what-you-weigh policy for ticket pricing.
Under the airline’s new policy, which went into effect on April 2, passengers are be charged a fixed rate per kilogram, from about $1 to $4.16, depending on routes. There are no extra bag fees, just a simple scale based directly on weight.
Not surprisingly, reactions have been mixed about the news — The Guardian writer Ally Fogg called the policy “dehumanising and degrading“. But Chris Langton, the airline’s chief executive, has been widely quoted as saying that this is “the fairest way of traveling,” and we here at Girls Who Get Around tend to agree. (Just ask Beth, after a disastrous red-eye experience earlier this year.)
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that more weight, whether in a suitcase or someone’s midsection, means more fuel consumption, which means more money. (And, considering that Samoa Air only has three tiny puddle-jumpers in its inventory, the business model makes sense for the airline.) Plus, for those traveling with children, the new Samoa Air policy offers a chance to save some serious coin. Langton also says that the policy will help promote a greater awareness of health in Samoa, a country with one of the highest obesity rates on the planet.
And yet … there’s a fat chance this will ever take off with larger airlines. Although airlines including Southwest, United, and JetBlue already have policies in place that if passengers can’t fit into the seat with both armrests down and the seatbelt fastened, they must buy two tickets, a pay-as-you-weigh policy would be difficult at best and a disaster at worst. I mean, who hasn’t shaved off a pound or 10 on their driver’s license – how would airlines be able to distinguish between what passengers report and their actual weight? And overweight or not, can you image the trauma of stepping on a scale in front of ticket agents? (Although one savvy commenter on CNN.com’s story suggested adopting what the military sometimes does: Weigh the passenger and his baggage at the same time.)
That said, it’s high time that airlines take a closer look at this issue, and figure out a more equitable, hospitable, and humane way to price fares. It’s not fair to the travelers who find their precious space encroached upon by an overweight traveler, yet it also doesn’t seem quite fair to double the cost for overweight travelers. There’s a thin line, after all, between discrimination and profitability.
Posted on April 1, 2013 by Blane Bachelor
As if you weren’t already worried about drooling during a little mid-flight snooze, the carnivorous creative minds over at good old Skymall bring you the bacon throw and bacon pillow.
The writeup of this Hot Mess is almost as hilarious as the items themselves: “Pair this throw and pillow together to show off your excellent taste.” By whose standards? Larry the Cable Guy?
I just want to know: Who in the bloody hell actually buys this stuff beyond as a gag gift (like the reviewer who gave the throw to his vegan sister)? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller, Bueller? I will say this, however: After discovering this gem ion a recent flight, I made it a point to check out Skymall on a more regular basis, because I haven’t laughed that hard in a while.
Posted on March 29, 2013 by Beth Yost
Every tour operator seems to be cashing in on the “off the beaten path” travel trend. Not that I mind; I’m really starting to appreciate their creativity. And this spring is the perfect time to try something new in the now vast world of adventure travel — storm chasing.
I’ll admit I’ve become calloused to the term “adventure travel.” But let’s be serious, since when was zip lining adventurous? Fun? Yes. Adventurous? Sure, for those with acrophobia. And why does every adventure traveler have a photo on a camel or photographic proof of eating insects in Asia? And skydiving? Please – that was so five years ago. Listen to what a curmudgeon I’ve become!
Well, step aside pedestrian adventure travel trends, because these guys are certainly promising adventures, and they’re not the only operators around. Is it really “adventure travel”… I don’t know, but I’ve never done it before and it certainly beats eating insects.
Living in Seattle now, I miss the excitement of the earth-shaking storms I encountered during my Midwestern upbringing. I think I’m adding this new travel trend to my to-do list.
Posted on March 24, 2013 by Beth Yost
Everyone says you can’t take it with you, but unfortunately for the former spouse of Mr. or Mrs. frequent flier, Skymiles can no longer be transferred to a spouse upon a member’s death – so you MUST take them with you. Really, Delta!? Is this some kind of ironic joke: Medallion members use up Skymiles for the final journey. I suppose it is probably a long one. Maybe they get perks?
On a brighter note (which is still quite grim), members are allowed to transfer miles before their death to other members. So, what’s the moral of this story? Plan your death carefully; Delta doesn’t tolerate surprises.
Read more about the Skymiles policy.
Posted on March 21, 2013 by Blane Bachelor
If you’re looking to make a weekend getaway over Easter, here’s one very strong reason to consider San Francisco: the chance to watch hundreds of costumed, crazy adults barreling down one of the city’s twistiest, steepest streets — on Big Wheels.
Bring Your Own Big Wheel, which takes place on the afternoon of Easter Sunday, is one of the most fantastically zany events SF has to offer — and that’s saying a lot for this whacked-out city. BYOBW, which was started by some of the same folks behind Burning Man, takes place in Potrero Hill, on Vermont Street, which is Lombard’s lesser-known but equally twisted sister. (The ensuing insanity on Lombard apparently inconvenienced snooty Russian Hill residents en route to their botox treatments or wine country weekend mansions, so it was moved to the much ‘hipper hood of Potrero a few years back.)
Last year, Chris and I just watched from the sidelines (which is pretty exciting on its own — check out the video I made below), avoiding the wreckage from flying plastic and me trying not to wet my pants from laughing. This year, however, we’re planning on racing. However, being the top-rate procrastinators that we are, we’ve just now started to look for some used wheels, which apparently are pretty hard to come by in these parts this time of year (and I’m sure as heck not dropping cash for brand-new Big Wheels. Watch the video and you’ll see why.).
So, as either participants or spectators, we’ll be there again next Sunday, reveling in the magic and insanity of such a uniquely San Franciscan event. Chocolate bunnies, Peeps, and grown people on Big Wheels — I can’t imagining celebrating Easter any other way.