Letters to the Editor

Readers write about airline baggage fees, green certifications, and how people managed before computers.

Fliers weigh in on new airline fees for checked baggage

Regarding Mark N. Katz's June 17 Opinion piece, "Airlines are charging for the wrong bags": What a grand idea to charge for carry-on bags instead of checked bags. Airlines take note. Make our lives better and still garner revenue. It would be a win-win for everybody. Change your policies, American Airlines, and others in the industry will follow, as it just makes better sense.

June Marvel
Salt Lake City

In response to the recent Opinion piece on airline luggage fees: During the last flight I was on, the flight attendant removed my jacket from the overhead compartment (over my objections), and I was forced to hold it in my lap just so someone could jam their large bag into the overhead bin.

Everyone wants an on-time takeoff, but all of this bag handling takes time and delays the planes.

Stewart Galloway
Round Lake, N.Y.

Regarding the recent Opinion piece on charging for carry-on luggage: While I understand and, to a large extent, agree with Mr. Katz's irritation with the people who abuse carry-on luggage rules, does he really want young kids traveling without a few things to entertain or comfort them? What about families with babies who can't check their diaper bag?

As bored as I would be on a flight without books or a laptop, I would still consider a child's snuggly toy and a slight reduction of hassle for parents more important and more worthy of taking up space in a cramped cabin than my needs.

But if airlines tried to make distinctions as to what sort of carry-on is free and what gets a charge, there would be outrage about "discrimination," and families would be the losers.

There seems to be no happy answer to air travel woes.

Katharine Wiley
Rockland, Mass.

Sharp buyers can influence companies

Regarding the June 17 article, "How green is that cleaner?": This article on green cleaning got it right when it advised consumers to look for independent verification when a company claims its products protect the planet. Otherwise, a company that simply meets its own standards is the environmental equivalent of the fox guarding the henhouse.

Just as important, consumers who favor certified, labeled products and services do more than spend their own money wisely. By flexing their green consumer clout, they pull less responsible companies in a greener direction, too. The marketplace can be a powerful engine for change. Shoppers who buy ecocertified products can be the engine drivers.

Diane MacEachern
Takoma Park, Md.

Technology's time trade-off

In response to the June 17 article, "What, people managed before computers?": The article triggered the following thought. I completed my PhD in Britain in 1957, without the help of computers. Sometime in the 1990s, while I was a professor of electrical engineering, one of my students asked me how on earth I could have done it without a computer. I explained it with the following example: It took me four hours to solve a system of four equations in four unknowns, whereas a modern student could do it in a few nanoseconds. However, it would have taken that student several weeks to develop the program and to make sure it was working correctly.

Martin Wedepohl
Westbank, British Columbia

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com. Mail letters to Readers Write and Opinion pieces to Opinion Page, 210 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.

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