Posted April 22, 2008 by Carl Unger
United is the latest major U.S. carrier to add new fees, but it's hardly alone. Airlines have been boosting prices left and right over the past year or so, ostensibly to offset record fuel prices, to the point where flying is ordering from an a la carte menu. Checking a second bag? That will cost you. Want a sandwich on the plane? Better have your credit card. Want a window seat? Pony up the cash, brotha!
By all appearances, however, it would seem the airlines have run out of items or services for which they can tack on additional gouges (did I say gouges?).
Note I said seem that way.
It would not be at all shocking to this industry satirist to see airlines begin charging for the most fundamental components of the flying experience. When you think about it, charging for seat cushions, seat belts, and overhead storage would be sure-fire moneymakers for the airlines. After all, who’s going to sit through a cross-country flight without a seat cushion?
I know it may be dangerous to make these suggestions, lest a bold airline exec take them seriously, but here are some more basic services to which the airlines could attach fees:
A cover charge for physical entry onto the plane: I'm imagining a burly, sunglass-wearing club bouncer standing behind a velvet rope. Of course, there's no band behind the airline door, no pomegranate martinis, no comfy lounge areas, and certainly no hot dating scene—okay, there's nothing particularly appealing about the inside of a plane at all. Unless…
You pay a charge for polite treatment from flight attendants. They're generally pleasant, cheerful folks, but you have to wonder how many of them are faking it. Who can blame them? They deal with rude passengers, long flights, and night after night in unfamiliar hotel rooms. They probably deserve an extra $20 to be nice to people.
Bathrooms: The final frontier. I feel horrible even mentioning this, as if I were releasing some deadly virus into the air, but wouldn't charging for bathroom access be the pinnacle of airline nickel-and-diming? And with the recent reversal of a New York State passenger bill of rights, it's clear that the government doesn't exactly have our backs either. I have to imagine this will never, ever happen.
So, what do you think the airlines can charge us for? Add your comments below, but remember—the airlines read our blog every day (Seriously! Don't laugh!) and they're always looking for new revenue sources. So if you suggest charging for a personal floatation device … well, don't say I didn't warn you.
(Photo: Boeing Blogs)
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