Thursday, May 24, 2012

For a Few Dollars More

by Pa Rock
Disgruntled Passenger

I heard on the radio yesterday that one of the major airlines is going to begin charging extra for aisle and window seats.  I don’t remember which airline it was that was going to perpetuate this outrage on the flying public, and it doesn’t make any difference because all of the others will dutifully follow suit within a few weeks.

Remember the good old days before airlines were “deregulated,” back when the government had more control over this vital public transportation system.  This is clearly a case where things do not run better when left to free market principles.    

Airlines have historically divided their planes into comfort and service levels – first class, business class, and cattle.  The amenities are reduced to almost nothing in the cattle section, and if a passenger in the cheap seats wishes to purchase something to eat or drink, the cost becomes a little more dear with each flight.

Next they went after our luggage.  If a person wanted to stow a second suitcase in the plane’s underbelly, there would be an extra fee - even though there was no apparent shortage of space in the cargo holds.  That played out on all of us because people responded by stuffing everything they could into large “carry-ons” that were actually medium-sized suitcases, and then interfered with boarding and deplaning as they struggled to get their over-sized “carry-ons” into or out of the overhead storage compartments.

Overbooking has also become the norm as a way to keep from flying with empty seats.  A person might buy his ticket well in advance and then arrive at the airport for the flight only to learn that he has no seat after all because too many schmucks who bought tickets actually showed up to use them.  The purchase of a ticket appears to be a contractual agreement in which only one party is held accountable.

And don’t even get me started on peanuts.

It would be much more fair and expedient if airlines just figured the actual cost of their expenses and translated that into standard ticket pricing.  Yes, the cost of the tickets would fluctuate with the price of jet fuel and peanuts, but the flying public would no longer have to stand in line while some idiot tried to save a few dollars by cramming a suitcase for every member of his family into the overhead bins.   The airlines need to quit trying to segregate us by ability or willingness to pay crap fees, and instead concentrate on customer service and flying their damned planes.

And if they need a few dollars more, maybe they should consider squeezing it out of the CEO's pay - instead of milking it from the cows customers in coach.

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