The article "Before You Take Off" by Catharine Hamm [Jan. 29], reminded me of a trip I took last year. It's an example of a driving vacation that the 80% to 90% of Californians she mentioned as car trippers might appreciate: It was five days long, leaving from Whittier and going to Bryce Canyon in Utah. I stayed at Zion the first night. The ranger said the campground was full, but I found an empty site. After breakfast the next morning outside the park, I drove through fantastic scenery toward Bryce.
I toured Bryce, went back down the road to Red Canyon and took a site at a state campground ($12 a night) that had hot showers and was very well laid out with views. I used this as a base to explore southern Utah for the next three days. I went back home through Cedar City, Utah.
Total cost for the trip: less than $90 (not including gasoline). The scenery, solitude and great interactions with travelers from all walks of life and many different countries were awesome.
Fees and fare games
Regarding "Seating Roulette" by Catharine Hamm [On the Spot, Jan. 29]: There isn't a day that goes by that consumers aren't assaulted in some way by big corporations that want more of my money. Airlines nickel and dime everyone, and no one says a word. Baggage fees, seat fees and if you call and make a reservation, you're charged a fee. It seems as if they charge for everything. Then they claim they aren't making money, and several months later you find that they made millions in fees. Then I turn to Page 11 of the Travel section, and there it is again: A Paris airfares special is offered for $829, but there's a $20-$30 weekend surcharge each way. The hotels also are getting in on the action. This is nothing but consumer terrorism, and we are quietly letting it happen.
I enjoyed Hamm's On the Spot column in today's Times. I thought it might have added a little more context to have mentioned that, in large part, the current reality of a la carte pricing in air travel (where we are charged extra for booking with an agent, checking bags, choosing a seat, etc.) is a result of our fondness for basing ticketing on the least expensive option. Combine this with online booking sites that sort by fare, and it's easy to see why airlines have resorted to these games. They have been taught again and again that they must offer extremely low fares, but add-ons are not included.