Published 3:05 pm Friday, July 23, 2010

Recently, I flew out to Kansas to attend a family reunion and to see my first great-grandson. The reunion was great, but I think flying on a broomstick would have been easier.

I had built up 26, 000 frequent flyer miles with Delta, and since a roundtrip only required 40,000 miles, I thought I would just purchase the additional needed miles. My first shock came when I discovered it was $90 cheaper to fly the same airline with an internet booking through Orbitz.

Nevertheless,&bsp; I continued my sojourn out of Asheville with a change of planes in Atlanta. Fortunately, I had worn socks without holes so I was not embarrassed by the shoe removal, and only had to go through the screening process twice having&bsp; forgotten to remove my belt the first time.

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Since checking a bag now requires a healthy additional charge, I thought I would be thrifty and take my carry-on on the plane with me. Upon arrival, I discovered my connecting flight was leaving from a bay that I am not sure was in the terminal.

After manipulating a long corridor, an escalator, a short train ride and another long corridor, I finally arrived as the plane was in the process of loading. The only overhead bay space available for the bag was about 14 feet beyond my seat. This presented an interesting problem on departing the plane (I have heard it said if you go to heaven by Delta, you will go through Atlanta, but I have not had an occasion to personally verify it).

My disposition was somewhat restored by a soft drink and a two ounce bag of peanuts. In fact, I was given two bags which I am sure was a gross violation of company policy.

Learning a little from my trip out, I checked my bag and paid the fee on the way back. I do not attempt to understand the system, but this time I changed planes in Detroit. When I arrived in Detroit, I was told my connecting flight was just across the corridor about 30 feet away. Surely they had made a mistake, but somehow I had lucked out. As I settled in my seat, I ordered a soft drink along with the two ounce bag of pretzels this time.

I began reminiscing. I actually could remember back to when you looked forward to a delicious meal and everything was included in the price. There is a rumor that if I fly standing up, the price is reduced and you can save even more if you are willing to sit on the wings. I will allow some adventurous soul check out those rumors. The automobile and rest stops looks better than ever.