Travel Gains of 2010
2010 was the year we all complained about crowded seats, lack of baggage space, and extra fees, fees, fees! In the early part of the year, the ash cloud from a volcano in Iceland wreaked havoc on air travel and we’re now ending the year with a big old East Coast blizzard doing the same. But we did see some travel gains this year. Most notably when it comes to the tarmac rule, passed by the Department of Transportation. Planes can no longer sit on the tarmac for more than three hours at a stretch without the airlines shouldering a hefty fine, and this has drastically cut down on the numbers of planes engaged in this practice (despite the fact that the airlines screamed this couldn’t be done).
Passengers like actor/director Kevin Smith brought awareness to the plight of overweight travelers and caused some airlines to institute a two-seat rule for those who can’t fit into one without being able to lower the armrest. Later in the year, flight attendant Steven Slater swilled a beer down the emergency chute and into American folk-hero-ship for highlighting the general state of passenger rudeness in the skies. Hopefully, he caused some to reconsider their churlish behavior toward those on the plane whose job it is to keep us safe.
America’s national parks, including Yellowstone, were busier than ever, signaling the return to the magical simplicity of the great outdoors and the importance of spending time with family. And, perhaps best of all, is that more people were able to travel for the holidays this year than they did in 2009. Let’s hope it continues into 2011! What travel gains do you hope to see happen in the New Year?
My name: Rachel Berg.
Favorite way to get around: By Venetian gondola during starlit high tide, gliding past decaying and slightly spooky palaces, with perhaps a bottle of prosecco placed between the gondola seat cushions.
View that took my breath away: Unable to sleep in the mystical city of Sfat in Israel, I wandered outdoors predawn and was treated to a purple-on-purple sunrise below the mountaintop that seemed to emerge feet-first through ground-level clouds.
Greatest travel lesson learned: Sunny weather isn't everything. Some of my best travel memories involve go-karting through a deluge turned mud-fest in Mexico, drinking tea in the cold Denali tundra, and watching electric thunderstorms roll through national parks out West.
Most challenging travel moment: Getting leveled by altitude sickness in Cuzco and realizing that my body was forcing me to slow down and rest despite the fact that there was so much to do and see.
Travel ambition: To see the northern lights.