Crossposted from over at Fire on the Mountain.
The flailing US airline industry continues to tack on charges to the price of a ticket, as soaring jet fuel costs hammer bottom lines already shakier than the crate the Wright Brothers flew at Kitty Hawk.
The pre-$140-a-barrel-oil adjustments were mostly of two types:
Fuel surcharges added directly to the cost of a ticket–$65 these days.
Cost cutting, like how free in-flight meals dwindled to li’l bags of peanuts and then tiny ones of pretzels, which have evaporated entirely on some flights, replaced by the $8 airline-food sandwich.
But in the last month or so we’ve seen the announcement of:
* $15 fees to check a bag, $30 for a second bag. Another $2 each if you want to check in at the curb. This insures super-crowded overhead bins.
* A charge to select your seat–$15 for aisle, $10 for window, $5 for middle. So let them put you wherever, you say? That’s because you aren’t traveling with a spouse and kid. If you are, that’s another 30 smackers right there. (Me, I’ve always gone for window in a “Serve The People’ gesture-it means there’s at least a 50% chance that when I fall asleep I won’t start listing gently to the other side and drooling on the shoulder of the party next to me.)
* $5 to watch a movie. On a tiny seatback screen. Oh, yeah, if you want to actually hear what’s going on, add on a $3 headphone upgrade.
* $2 for a smallish bottle of water. Of course, you can’t bring water from home. Well, you can, but they’ll make you throw it out at the bag scan, and if you make a big fuss about it, you’re asking for a session with the national security proctologist. Needless to say, you can opt to buy a somewhat larger but more expensive bottle from the pricey shops inside the concourse.
* And when you cash in your frequent flier miles for the free ticket they promised you? Well, their idea of “free” involves you forking over $50 cash.