If you’ve had the misfortune of recently flying on a commercial airline then you’ve probably had the privilege of paying for one or more of the following:
- Really, really bad, expensive food. Example:
Ham & Cheddar Breakfast Sandwich $7.79
“Ham and cheddar cheese on a ciabatta square served with Dijon mustard-mayo sauce (served cold).”
Translation: (A miniscule portion of) ham and (dry, old) cheddar cheese on a (small, stale) ciabatta square served with (one measly) Dijon mustard-mayo sauce (because we’re too cheap to do the condiments separately) (served cold – and we mean really, really cold).
- Ancillary Fees. Example:
According to IdeaWorks Company, which publishes the CarTrawler Yearbook of Ancillary Revenue, airlines around the world took in a collective haul of $40.5 billion in ancillary fees and charges in 2015, the highest figure ever recorded for this study. (Trust me, it will be higher for 2016, when they get brave enough to release the figures.)
That year – again, according to IdeaWorks – United Airlines led the pack with $6.2 billion in fees. If you care to do the math – and I do – that’s just one airline, in one year, sucking in almost $17 million of our hard-earned dollars per day.
Here are some of the rip-offs – excuse me, ancillary fees – you may have to “show them the money” for:
|· In-Phone/In-Person Booking Fees
· Unaccompanied Minor Fees
· Credit Card Booking Fees
· Overweight Bag Fees
· Oversize Bag Fees
|· Carry-On Bag Fees
· Boarding Pass Fees
· Seat Selection Fees
· In-cabin Pet Fees
· Blanket and Pillow Fees
Then there are those pesky Ticket Change Fees. You bought your ticket six months ago but now, due to a burst appendix, you’re forced to postpone your trip. Not cancel – just postpone. The airlines will gladly help you with that, and gladly charge you up the wazoo for that pesky appendix.
All this begs the question: What will they charge us for next? Is the following what you’ll hear the next time you shoehorn yourself into your none-too-clean, way-too-narrow, no-leg-room seat?
“Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen! And welcome aboard No Way Airways, with non-stop service from San Diego to Chicago. Your safety and comfort are of utmost importance to us, so please pay close attention to the following announcement.
“For your in-flight comfort, a pillow and blanket may be purchased for $5. A clean pillow and blanket may be purchased for $12.95.
“In the event of the loss of air pressure in the cabin, an oxygen mask will automatically drop down from the panel above your head. However, to activate the oxygen, you must purchase a green sticker for $39.95. Passengers who do not purchase a green sticker will, in the event of the loss of cabin pressure, experience irreversible brain damage and/or death within four minutes.
“A life vest is provided for every passenger and is located beneath your seat. To inflate the life vest, you must first purchase a red sticker for $49.95. However, as our trip today does not normally take us over any significant bodies of water, the life vest red sticker is discounted to $19.95.
“In the event of an emergency landing, escape chutes will be deployed from the various airplane exits. To use the chutes to evacuate the airplane, you’ll need to purchase a yellow sticker for $69.95. Passengers who do not purchase a yellow sticker will, in the event of an emergency evacuation, remain on the aircraft until all passengers with yellow stickers, and the flight crew, have left the aircraft. After that, you’re on your own.
“You may purchase green, red and yellow stickers from the flight attendants who are moving through the aisles now. We accept all major credit cards. All purchases are final, and must be made prior to takeoff.
“Finally, lavatories are located throughout the aircraft and designated by an overhead sign. To use a lavatory, insert $3 into the slot above the door handle, just as you would with a soda or snack machine. There is no additional charge for flushing, and please enjoy the toilet paper, soap and hand towels with our compliments.
“Once again, welcome aboard No Way Airways, and enjoy your trip!”