With the anniversary of 9/11 a few week ago, I had a conversation with my 16 year old granddaughter about how airline travel has changed over the years, many changes which can be attributed to the impact of that tragic day in American history.

I travel a lot. I’ve logged more than 2 million miles in my travel time. Surprisingly, all those miles were logged in the last 30 years. I hadn’t flown on an airplane before then. As a frequent traveler, I don’t need a major anniversary to remind me of the changes to airline travel since 9/11. I’m reminded each time I remove my belt and shoes, and step inside the body-scanning capsule for the TSA agent.

The way we pack has certainly changed. Bringing your favorite pocket knife on vacation isn’t as easy as remembering to slip it into your pocket. Any blades of any kind must be in a checked bag. Checked baggage has changed too though. With the implementation of baggage fees, many travelers are attempting to travel with only a carry on bag, which means leaving things like your pocket knife at home, along with your favorite cologne if it’s over 3 ounces.

Other changes have come that aren’t related to 9/11. My granddaughter was surprised to learn that smoking has only been prohibited on domestic flights since 2000. Before most of America traveled with a phone in their pocket, travelers found it necessary to purchase a calling card to make sure they could keep in touch with family without a significant economic impact to the vacation budget. Without cell phones, we needed a paper map as a guide in a new place. Exploring a new city is just an app click away now!

Airline changes, particularly in the areas of seat comfort and excessive fees, not only for baggage, but in flight snacks as well, have made airline travel less enjoyable for travelers, says an article in Consumer Reports. But, as sometimes it’s the fastest option to get from point a to point b, we have to weigh the sometimes frustrating changes with our desire to reach a destination.

Change is something many people have difficulty with. Many people affected by significant differences have difficulty with change. Change is necessary but still scary for all of us.

Randel C. Goad – Mandt Faculty Supervisor