Travel, before it was awful

panamair.jpgThe biggest airlines are imposing "peak travel surcharges" this summer. In other words, they're going to raise fees without admitting they're raising fees: Hey, it's not a $30 price hike. It's a surcharge! This comes on the heels of checked-baggage fees, blanket fees, extra fees for window and aisle seats, and "snack packs" priced at exorbitant markups. Hotels in Las Vegas and elsewhere, meanwhile, are imposing "resort fees" for the use of facilities (in other words, raising room rates without admitting they're raising room rates). The chiseling dishonesty of these tactics rankles, and every one feels like another nail in the coffin of travel as something liberating and pleasurable. And in that light, Taschen's new clip book 20th-Century Travel: 100 Years of Globe-Trotting Ads just feels sad. Who really wants to be reminded that, as Flavorwire puts it, there was a time in recent memory "when Amtrak and even Greyhound were classy, airplanes had lounges, and Conrad Hilton wanted to build a hotel on the moon"? Who wants to dive into the lavish design and vivid four-color art of a time when travel was an adventure, something average people looked forward to all year long, something memories were made of? Not me. I'll just be here in my middle seat, thanks, clutching my $12 pillow and crying. (Illustration via TravelHistory.org)

Loading...