Joining the Mile-high Fee Club

FeatureIf there’s one thing we Americans love, it’s getting hit by a surprise bill we weren’t ready for.

Airlines realize how much we appreciate this treatment and have responded by jacking up checked bag fees by a factor of seven since 2007. Along the way, airlines have managed to go from bringing in roughly half a billion in checked bag fees in 2007 to a whopping $3.5 billion in 2013.

Monetizing our desire not to wear the same underpants for a week may be evil, but it’s also highly lucrative.

Weird. It’s almost as if they realized that we need to bring our stuff with us when we travel.

 

Monetizing our desire not to wear the same underpants for a week may be evil, but it’s also highly lucrative. It also helped contribute to the Oklahoma land rush-esque scramble that now accompanies most flights, where desperate passengers stuff every overhead bin and under-seat stowing location with gear in the desperate hope of saving a few extra bucks.

There was a time when air travel carried a certain glamour and style. Now, airports look like refugee detention centers. 

We’ve gone from handing our luggage over at check-in to shlepping it around sprawling airports like wandering Bedouin, a process made all the more enjoyable by increased security measures in the post-9/11 world. Where once you might have packed your clothes and gear and walked onto a plane with the handful of things you actually needed for your flight, now passengers find themselves weighed down like Sherpas, hoping their carry-ons won’t explode from the structurally unsound combination of too much weight and far too much volume.

There was a time when air travel carried a certain glamour and style. Now, airports look like refugee detention centers. Everyone is miserable, everyone appears to be fleeing some conflict you’ve never heard of, and everyone appears to be carrying the entirety of their worldly possessions with them as they go. All that’s missing is some livestock. Oh, and most refugees don’t fight over power outlets.

I’ll do almost anything to avoid flying. I hate being squished. I despise the endless fart smell. I loathe being treated like I’m somehow imposing on every single airport employee through my mere presence.

Oh, and I’m not fond of getting ripped off, either. Charge what the flight actually costs, and maybe I’ll stop driving ridiculous distances simply to dodge the misery of flight.

It wouldn’t kill the airlines to engineer an inflight meal that didn’t give every passenger crippling flatulence, either. Of course, given that they’ve all made inflight meals about as rare as an empty overhead bin, perhaps this is becoming a moot point. Almost as pointless as when we complain about getting shafted. Three and a half billion dollars speaks a lot louder than our grousing ever will.RedShtick-Top-ColumnStop

About Jared Kendall

Jared Kendall
A freelance data journalist and father of two, Jared Kendall has been using comedy as a coping mechanism his entire life. Born a Yankee, Jared's twenty-year stint in Baton Rouge still leaves him with one question: "Why'd I move here, again?"

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