2022 took me officially “Back on Tour”. That helped a lot when you had a podcast/youtube show called “Brenton on Tour” which allowed me to report on the world that I so greatly love to explore through a job I love immensely.
Last year I visited over 30 countries, ran events attended by millions of people, took 100 + flights, walked or ran over 4 million steps (which is close to 4000 KM), drank well over 500 coffees, took over 75 COVID tests, and only missed one potential crazy gun-toting idiot. SOURCE
Well, given the recent airport madness just in the GTA and Greater Vancouver area alone I thought I would shed some light on what it was REALLY like to travel this year and what to possibly expect moving forward. I’m not certain there will be any way to avoid the airport madness, so buckle in!
Baggage Graveyard. @ YVR. 💀
Sent to me from a gf whose flight was still showing on time, until it was abruptly switched to cancelled at the last minute(Flair). She’s one of the luckier ones though. Relatively short wait time, all things considered. pic.twitter.com/NUgi7OSOe2
— Christa Dao (@ChristaDao) December 20, 2022
I’ve never seen anything like this at Pearson Airport in Toronto.
A mass of humanity and luggage upon arrival. pic.twitter.com/VfOOYxSoWA
— Devin Heroux (@Devin_Heroux) December 27, 2022
So let’s start there, Airports!
You see, people will blame their local political leaders for the mess at their airports because they think it is their COVID mandates that got us there. Sadly like most things on the internet, they would be sadly mistaken. Sure COVID resulted in millions of people getting laid off from their work and in turn left the airline industry amongst others drastically short but there are so many OTHER factors at play here. First and foremost, people took a look in the mirror and decided how they want to spend their time and wrangling luggage in sub-zero temperatures wasn’t on that list.
Solution? Pay more, treat your employees better? Don’t just make them punch a clock and then pay them anyway when they go on strike or don’t show up? Sure, you can’t give everyone everything but aren’t they learning their lesson now? Yes, there is a massive shortage of baggage handlers with no signs of it getting better and if Qantas is making their Exec team handle baggage, you know there is no fix on the way!
1. Qantas has requested senior executives to work as baggage handlers for 3 months to address an acute labour shortage.
The airline is looking for at least 100 volunteers to work at Sydney and Melbourne airport.
They must be able to move suitcases weighing as much as 32kg each. pic.twitter.com/rL5n2vHX0P
— BFM News (@NewsBFM) August 9, 2022
— Jacqueline London (@jackielondon) December 26, 2022
On top of all this, there IS and will be a huge pilot shortage. I sat with a pilot on a short flight from Berlin to Paris last year and I wasted no time asking him about what was next for all of us. Said pilot didn’t waste any time in mentioning that there is such a shortage of pilots that he thinks it will cripple the travel industry within 10 years. Imagine what that means for EVERYTHING? Remove people from the equation and just think of the food and necessities of life that need to move around the planet before Karen from Sault St Marie gets to fly to Texas to board her all-inclusive Kid Rock Cruise. SOURCE
— FlightGlobal (@FlightGlobal) December 25, 2022
After flying to your destination you most likely need to rent a car or arrange for ground transportation. Guess what? There is a massive shortage of computer chips for new cars. SOURCE What does that mean? Well, rental car companies aren’t turning their inventory over as fast and in turn not allowing you to drive from NYC to Jersey or Vancouver to Calgary on a one-way drop-off anymore. Sure, some are, but at astronomical rates which are pushing more people than ever to UBER or Lyft.
Shortage of chips. There are no new cars to be had, and manufacturers are shoving everything to their dealers. Fleet sales are their last concern.
— Richard Whittaker (@YorkshireTX) September 3, 2021
So, you’ve taken the flight, might have been lucky enough to actually get your luggage, rented a car and now it’s time to head to the hotel!
But wait! The hotel is overbooked or your room won’t be ready for hours and all of a sudden can’t accommodate you and your 3 precious and well-disciplined children. Now what? Do you have status? Are you a member of the Hilton Honors, IHG, Marriott Bonvoy, or any other assortment of programs? No? Major fail. Have you NOT seen the movie “Up in the Air?”
It’s all about status and miles and you will generally be treated as such. But, “I booked on Expedia and it said I could check in early and late and I got an upgrade!” Sure, provided someone with status isn’t in front of you in line or better yet there is actually staff available to clean your room. You see, worse than the grueling baggage handler gig is the hotel cleaning staff gig. The service industry is in desperate need of workers and hotels are no exception. SOURCE
When analyzing potential ways to spend 8 hours away from your loved ones every day, is cleaning up hotel rooms after two families decided to save a few bucks and share a double room sound fun? Or, how about a Beer League hockey team away for the weekend and choosing NOT to shower before the Championship game because of their superstitions? I didn’t think so. I have status in most hotels (due to the variety of hotels that I stay in, not because I’m an entitled asshole) and it’s become very difficult all over the world to think about getting in early, getting exceptional service, or even getting someone to come and look at the thermostat. Plus, hotels are making up for huge losses from the last few years and feel no shame in charging $199.00 a night on a room that once was $89.00. Deals exist but are for sure becoming harder to find. Make sure you look around and try to book direct from the hotel website or at least Hotels.com where you get 1 free room for every 10 you book!
There are certainly a variety of ways to enjoy travel in 2023. Planning for staff shortages, wait times, delays, cancellations, etc, and having backup plans for all of them is the first start. For all the hotels and airlines overcharging, there are also a great number of deals to be had as these hotels and airlines compete for your dollar and entertainment. Like anything else, if it sounds too good to be true it likely is. Every now and again though, there really IS an incredible opportunity and as the world gets relatively back to some sort of normalness, I recommend you take any and all opportunities to explore it. You know, before THEY shut it down again!