Monday, August 11, 2008

What is it with airlines now anyway??

I've traveled more on planes since 9/11 than I ever did before that. A couple of trips to LA, and then the (mostly) bi-annual trips to Vegas.

First two trips to LA, people were still a bit freaked out about air travel, and it was nice to have not packed planes and have a little breathing room.

The Vegas flights have been packed flights on smaller planes, on "Ted", which is United's discount airline. I like United. We fly out of O'Hare, and it's one of their hubs, which usually cuts down on some of the problems of air travel.

Ok, airlines... I know that fuel is more expensive. I bought an SUV right before prices went up. BELIEVE ME, I know. I've seen the costs of my groceries rise because of rising fuel costs. I understand where the higher prices are coming from.

I don't mind the "discount" airline. I liked Ted, I even preferred paying five bucks for one of their snackboxes over any dried out turkey sandwich I ever got on any other flight. If your "Light Bite" box didn't have tuna (seriously... tuna on an airplane???) and the world's most disgusting hummus in it, I'd probably buy two snack boxes each leg of each trip. But it's getting out of hand.

Some airline wants to charge for pillows and blankets? Ok. Any time I have ever asked for one, they're out anyway, so I always have a jacket and a travel pillow to keep me happy. But this checked baggage fee in a time where there are restrictions on what I can have in a carry on? C'mon. Please. Just raise the ticket fee across the board.

I did find out, thru United, as long as you have a confirmed Economy Plus seat, they wave the baggage fee. So, for our trip to Vegas... I can fork over $50 for extra legroom and that covers the $15 I'd have to pay to bring liquids with me. If you would have just raised airline fares across the board, you'd have that extra $15 plus the $50 because that legroom IS worth the money.

I understand that they're finally getting what many other companies/industries are well aware of... it's all about the extra "service" fees. Charge me for some snacks. Charge me for a pillow. You can charge me for a beverage only IF you have it on board (another reason not to travel in the back of the plane, they tend to run out of everything). Charge for water for those people who don't bother to buy a bottle before they get on the plane. Hell, sell upcharged bottles ON the plane (those dudes on the streets of Vegas make out like bandits selling 16 ounce bottles of water for a buck... take note!!). A charge if you have Wi-Fi on the plane? Bring it on. What a way to lure in geeks like me who just MIGHT need to check Wikipedia, and way to ensure you get that business traveler money of people who even just want to look like they're working on the flight (look... I can bill those hours... my bill shows I paid for WiFi!). Take out the back row and make a mini-business center with a printer and charge Kinkos per page prices for print outs and watch the dollars flow in.

I don't mind paying for the extras. But this bag fee is just crap. If the hubby needs to have a checked bag because he wears contacts and those little travel sized bottles aren't made for the brand of stuff he uses, it's not fair.

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