Traveling Again? Are You Sure?

It’s a funny thing how much we forget when we look the other way. To be honest, I always assume that “what you know” is what you know, and it’s yours for life.

Cue laughter.

Cue more laughter.

But it seems that during the pandemic, when we fashioned a whole new way of living, a lot of the daily stuff fell right out of my brain due to a change of focus. Sure I wrote a lot and published a book, but the truth is that when they say “use it or lose it” — well, it’s not just a poetic suggestion.

As it happens, I’m about to return to travel, and surprisingly I find myself looking through old trips to remember what I used to pack. Honestly, it’s a bit mortifying. And since I’m scheduled for four delightful outings this year, I need a primer … and I need it fast.

It used to be so easy. I knew exactly what I needed for the time of year and location, I knew exactly where it was in my closet, and I knew exactly how much (or how little!) to pack. Dare I say … it was fun. And I repeatedly threw it all together the day before take-off.

This year, ahem, I pulled down my faithful suitcase, stared at it for a couple of days, and then started a walkabout to decide which items might be selected. Basically, I needed to be warm and dry, which is not always easy in Ireland. So basically, that meant dry clothes to wear while wet clothes are drying.

And then there’s the task itself. Yes, I remember how to pack (roll it up). Yes, I remember WHAT to pack. Well … mostly. But if I forget something, I can probably get it there, right? Probably maybe.

But my biggest pickle is with the airlines, which I suppose is nothing new. Two legs over and two legs back, with the middle legs on a different airline. (Cue laughter)

How hard can it be to reserve a seat? There are people, there are seats, and the seats are designed to seat the people. Voila. And yet ….

To be fair, the airline provides some directions for claiming a seat. “Please ensure that you are aware of the latest travel requirements for your destination prior to arriving at the airport.”

No biggie. I click on the italicized portion and … nothing. I eventually find and click on a much longer description of available seats (with photos!) and … nothing.

So here’s the deal. Basically, there are seats for anything and everyone, including musical instruments and pets, But somehow, there’s no way for ME to reserve a seat. There are words about choosing and reserving your seat, which is lovely, but the actual directions for claiming a seat appear not to exist. The seats just sit there, refusing to allow even the tiniest, softest click.

You can, of course, return to the beginning, where they will string you along with another option for claiming a seat, but … there’s no link for clicking or claiming or exchanging or sneaking or stealing — leaving me with only zero options. No phone assistance. No website assistance. No feeling that everything is under control. I do have a piece of paper that looks rather like a ticket and a six digit number that could, I suppose, perform the duties of a ticket … but … is it really? And if it is, why can’t I claim it???

And so my return to travel takes on something of my younger days, when skies were indeed friendly, the leather seats were deep and wide, and the gates were rife with family members hugging goodbyes as you as you flew seamlessly into adventure.

Only with none of that.

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