Not Just More ‘Passenger Comfort’ — More Passengers

My first thought on reading this headline — Delta to Improve Passenger Comfort on 225 Domestic Narrowbody Aircraft — was to wonder how many additional seats Delta is going to cram onto those jets.

Call me a cynic, but I was right. The upgrade is going to add about 1,500 seats to 182 jets.

My second thought was to wonder who decided that that narrowbody is one word. I believe it’s a compound modifier requiring a hyphen: narrow-body. (Anyway, it means the aircraft has only one aisle.)

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A Heap of Cheap: My Year in Travel

Looking back at my travels in 2013, I’m compelled to acknowledge something. Although my husband splurged on a long-planned gift, a 19-day repositioning cruise to Barcelona for my milestone birthday (no need to get into which milestone), we are otherwise a pair of cheapskate travelers.

Thrifty. Frugal. Penny-pinchers. We have our excuses. I work for a non-profit and he works for a newspaper. (You remember newspapers. They’re like the Internet but you can fold them.) Neither of us travels much for business, so we’re paying almost everything out of our own pockets.

The trouble is that we love to travel and our tastes always exceed our budget. The solution is the Internet — not fold-able but full of travel bargains. So after ringing in the new year, I find myself at the keyboard nostalgically recalling the deals we tracked down and the websites we used to find them in 2013. Here they are:

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No Pot at DIA, Buzz Detected

Marijuana has been decriminalized in Colorado as of today, but you can’t carry it at Denver International Airport, according to the Denver Post.

Even if you’re just dropping someone off and you aren’t going through security. And even if you have a medical marijuana prescription.

The Post also reports that it’s illegal to consume pot on public transportation but that state law “is not entirely clear about whether passengers in limousines, tour vans or tour buses can smoke marijuana.”

As these details are ironed out, the state is preparing for the growth of marijuana tourism. “We’ve had a lot of interest, a lot of curiosity, a lot of buzz,” a travel agent told the Post.

Is the Pectopah Open? Ojalá Que Sí

“Ojalá que sí,” my mother sometimes says, repeating a phrase she picked up while serving in the Peace Corps in Costa Rica nearly 25 years ago.  The words, in Spanish adopted from Arabic, express the hope that God (Allah) willing, something will work out.

The phrase was ubiquitous in the town where my parents served for two years after their retirement, and it has worked its way into our family, Those members who speak Spanish may use it, and everyone else understands it. Will everyone be able to make it to Thanksgiving in Vermont this year? Ojalá que sí.

I began thinking about the ways that travel has altered the vocabulary of my large clan after I took an online dialect quiz that was briefly and explosively popular via Facebook before overwhelming digital traffic shut it down. In 25 questions about the words I use and the ways I pronounce them, the quiz accurately pinpointed my birthplace and home territory in central Connecticut. Same for my daughter and son-in-law.

I wonder, though, what the quiz would make of ojalá que sí or some of the other outside words and phrases that have made it into the vocabulary of my family.

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Bradley Fares: Less Expensive but More Expensive

Fares out of Bradley fell 3.7 percent, adjusted for inflation, between the second quarter of 2012 and the second quarter of 2013, nearly identical to a 3.6 percent drop in domestic fares nationwide, reports The Hartford Courant, citing the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. But Bradley’s average round-trip fare was $36 higher than the national average.

I wonder whether one possible reasons for higher fares is that so much of Bradley’s traffic — 38 percent of passengers — is carried by Southwest and JetBlue, which don’t charge for checked bags. (Bag fees aren’t included in the BTS stats.) So the fares look higher but passengers don’t necessarily pay more.

Or not. Figuring out whether bag fees are a factor would require calculating the percentage of flights flown by Southwest and JetBlue at each airport. And then you’d have to look at the percentage flown by hucksters like Spirit and Allegiant that charge for carry-on bags. And then you’d need to be a good statistician to figure out whether any correlation might involve other factors.

And I’m not that smart or that patient.