Thursday, May 22, 2008

Latest Sign of the Apocalypse

American Airlines will start charging $15 to check your first bag.

The only possible conclusion is that the airlines have determined that our hatred for them has reached some kind of maximum hatred ceiling, so it doesn't matter what they do anymore. There's only so much hatred a person can have for a business. The airlines long ago replaced the phone company as the businesses everyone loves to hate, and what with the delays, the lying about the delays, the lost luggage, the treating us like cattle (actually I expect cattle get treated better), the humiliating boarding experience, the fuel surcharges, and everything else they've done to us, they figure they can do anything now, and it won't make a difference to how we feel.

What's next? Soon the basic fare won't include a seat. It's already true that JetBlue told a passenger he had to sit in the toilet for three hours on a transcontinental flight. Obviously he didn't pay the seat surcharge. Soon the basic fare will entitle you to fly in the cargo hold -- a seat will be $17 extra. (And if you want a cushion on that seat instead of bare metal, it's another $6.)

And speaking of toilets, do you really expect toilets on airplanes to be free forever? There are such things as pay toilets, you know. Are you saying that you're too cheap to pay $1 to use the toilet? Obviously you have a spoiled entitlement mentality.

I think everyone knows that airfares have to go up with oil hitting a record high every day (remember when we used to fear that $70 a barrel oil would hurt the economy?). But everyone also sees that the airlines are raising fares in the slimiest, weaseliest, most deceptive possible ways. People want to comparison shop, and you can't do it if you can't find honest fares. If the airline ad says that the fare is $200, you want to pay $200, not $200 plus a $20 fuel surchage plus $30 to check your bag (I presume it's $15 each way on a round trip ticket) and a $10 security fee. That's an extra 30% of the ticket price. You can't comparison shop if 30% of the is hidden.

Airlines, we're not fooled. And we're keeping a special hatred reserve for whatever you haul out next.

No comments: