The Austin family gathering was a treasure of love, discovery, and new experiences made possible, this time, by the United Airlines new “Basic Economy” class.
Some of the changes didn’t affect me because I never had a “seat preference” despite being a seasoned traveler. I seldom checked a bag, preferring a small carry-on instead. And I’m happy to board last; I always did. But being limited to one “9 x 10 x 17 Personal Item” was new and I freaked.
To keep the experience similar, I paid to check my small carry-on which was additional to my “less than 9 x 10 x 17 day-pack.”
And I packed extra stuff.
But I did not wear the four extra tee shirts or the extra pants. I did not use my portable Water Pik flosser or SoniCare electric toothbrush, relying solely on my manual toothbrush and mouthwash instead.
I didn’t use my Kindle or music on the plane — the main reasons I wanted the day pack. The tiny planes from here to the Denver hub are so noisy that you’d go deaf if your noise-cancelling headphones were also playing music. And they were so bumpy I would have barfed trying to read.
Was it possible to put everything I needed into that 9 x 10 x 17 duffel bag as my single “Personal item”? Including purse, headphones, Mp3 player, Kindle, clothes, vitamins, and toiletries for the five-day experience?
The Dalix duffel bag has a zippered pocket on each end, a long,zippered pocket in front for airline ticket and passes, and considerable packing space in the middle. Kindle and 7.5 x 9 x 2.5 inch travel purse with long shoulder strap fit perfectly on one end. Vitamins, headphones, Mp3 layer, and toiletries fit in the pocket on the other end. Sandals, four shirts, knee-length sweat pants and jeans, slacks, belt, socks, and undies fit in the center compartment — with extra space for a sandwich and apple!
I know this because I packed my stuff both ways and it was only when I decided to pay to check the additional bag, the old carry-on, that extra tees and toiletries were added.
Even so, that “One Personal item” change had me bristling. I swore off Basic Economy on United Airlines, thinking I’d rather drive the seven hours through the mountains to Denver to take Southwest Airlines for their more generous version of basic airfare like my friend in New Mexico does.
But I conceded that for those guys who wear the same thing every day and who are plugged into their cell phones, B.E. class is a good idea. The one I sat next to on the way home needed two seats and a shower, another challenge of flying on such a tiny plane.
Then again, considering that this time I was stressed by other issues unrelated to travel, I’ll no doubt bounce back and cheer United for offering this cheaper airfare, possibly intended for business people. And re-connecting with family after so long, I can easily see myself using that Dalix bag for other adventures!