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Change…You Can Pay For

July 13, 2009 | by fathead One Comment

Airline FeesIt seems that lately, things have been changing so fast that I’m having a hard time keeping up to speed.

Here’s what I mean. I’m not much of a traveler. I will catch a flight now and then to Southern California, but the last time I took any sort of real plane flight was a pretty long time ago.

So I had to take a cross country trip last week on an airline that shall remain nameless (rhymes with “Shoenited”). I was only going to be gone for a couple of days and normally would have been able to stuff all my worldly goods into a carry-on bag. But I was going to a meeting that required me to wear a suit and tie so I thought it better to pack most of my stuff in a garment bag and check it.

I did this in part because I know how the airlines have spent many an hour trying to convince passengers to restrict their carry-on pieces because of their limited overhead compartment space. I also did it because I tend to purchase toiletries in tubes/containers/vials that are larger than the random three ounce size that apparently no terrorist would be caught dead with.

So the nice, smiling lady behind the counter at the anonymous airline asked me how many bags I would be checking on the flight.

“Just the one!” I responded all helpful like.

“Great,” she replied, “that will be fifteen dollars. How would you like to pay?”

Wait a minute. The airlines have spent thousands of dollars convincing people to check their bags instead of carrying everything on, and this is how they reward us for listening to them?

“When did you start charging to check a bag?” I asked.

“About a year ago. How would you like to pay?”

“How would I like to pay?” I repeated. “I guess I would like to pay you later. Much later. Like after I die, although preferably not in a fiery plane crash.”

“We take Visa, Master Card and American Express,” she said, her smile now but a distant memory.

So I reluctantly paid the fifteen bucks to check my bag and eventually boarded the plane. Now at this point, I hadn’t eaten for a while so I was getting a bit hungry. I waited until we were well airborne before asking the flight attendant what was being served in the cabin.

“We have a lunch platter consisting of a turkey sandwich, an apple and a cookie for seven dollars, and we have a snack pack consisting of three crackers and a pack of cheese spread for five dollars,” she replied robotically.

“When did you start charging for food on the plane?” I questioned while kicking myself for not buying at the airport.

“About a year ago,” she responded.

So I finally get to the hotel, a chain that I would say is considered to be quite nice by those in the travel industry (it rhymes with “Plembassy Sheets”). Now because I’m a hugely important person in the business world, and more importantly, one who is solely responsible for managing his fantasy baseball team, I immediately hooked up my laptop in my room and attempted to access the Internet.

It didn’t take long for Internet Explorer to load (and crash because that’s what it does) and there in front of me is the home page for the hotel internet service with this message telling me that I can enjoy internet service for 24 hours for the low, low price of $9.95.

So I picked up the phone and called the front desk.

“Good evening, how may I help you?” said the far-too happy to be working in a hotel front desk woman.

“I’m wondering when you started charging ten dollars for Internet service,” I asked innocently.

“About a year ago,” she politely replied.

A few days later, trust me when I say I was thrilled to get home. I pulled up in my driveway and my precious daughter came running out to me to give me a welcoming hug.

“Hi sweetie, how you doing?” I asked. “Where’s your mommy?”

“She went to the store.”

“When?”

“About a year ago.”

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One Comment »

  • Warren said:

    I find it a little ironic that I’m reading this post from a hotel room (that we drove to) over an internet connection that the hotel is providing for free. It seems like the airline industry is making the world a smaller place. People aren’t going to “choose” to fly, they’re only going to do it when they absolutely have to.

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