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Jean Teasdale on Airlines

June 19, 2008

This op-ed, by Suzanne Barlyn, is just about the stupidest thing I’ve ever read about the airline industry. It really reminds me of The Onion‘s fake columnist Jean Teasdale (“I don’t have to tell you Jeanketeers that Christmas is just around the corner, which means it’s time for—you got it—TV Christmas specials.”). Barlyn writes:

Just when it seemed that air travel couldn’t be any more demoralizing, three major carriers announced plans to charge most coach customers $15 to check a first bag.

That’s right. American Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways have made a decision to bring the industry’s already pitiful customer satisfaction ratings down yet another notch. Passengers who dare to travel with — gasp — necessities, such as clothing and diapers, will now have to pay for the privilege, beginning this week.

What’s next? A surcharge for the air that I breathe in the cabin?

Zing! Also: Diapers? How many diapers are you bringing? Why do you need so many diapers? Don’t they sell diapers wherever it is you are going? (Note: These $15 checked bag fees are only applicable to domestic, not international, travel.) Anyway, Barlyn goes on:

Airlines are, understandably, struggling to remain profitable amid record fuel prices. I can deal with cutting routes to save money. I can even accept raising fares — probably because airfares already seem so complicated that I would, admittedly, have a hard time understanding when I’m paying an extra $15 for a ticket.

But nickel-and-diming my family for baggage is absurd. If only I could enjoy the privileges of a corner office in exchange for making such stupid decisions.

First of all, the airlines are not “struggling to remain profitable”; they are struggling not to totally and completely flat run out of money. The only airline that is profitable is Southwest, and that is largely because the fuel it is using, because of hedge purchases against future fuel prices, costs about $50 a barrel, as opposed to the $140 a barrel other airlines are paying right now.

Secondly, about your family? Shut the fuck up. You shouldn’t’ve had so many kids, and expect to fly to Florida for $200 for all five of you. It’s unrealistic, and it’s not the airlines’ fault. Moving on:

Checking one bag each for my five-person family can now add $150 round-trip to our already pricy travel expenses. Imagine, paying extra for the hassle of checking your luggage, and then hunting it down when you arrive. I expect service when I fork over extra cash — such as an expedited baggage claim process. But finding your luggage when you arrive at your destination is often an adventure of its own, and now we’re paying more for the same old madness.

I intend to get around luggage fees, and the hassle of claiming our bags, by carrying on every last pair of socks.

What did I just say about your family!? Seriously, enough. And I love this, too: “Imagine, paying extra for the hassle of checking your luggage.” Imagine! Imagine having to pay FIFTEEN DOLLARS so that you can put a bag on a flight that goes across the country in three hours! I can’t! The horror, the horror.

And that’s great: You intend to get around luggage fees by carrying on every last pair of socks. Wonderful. Thanks for fucking it up for the rest of us. Now, not only will we have to contend with your squalling five-ring circus of a family, we will also have to deal with your mountains of diapers and socks spilling out of overhead compartments.

Oy. I could go on but I won’t. Read it for yourself. Just such a distasteful, annoying sense of entitlement.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    June 19, 2008 9:53 pm

    Hunter is ALL fired up! I love your passion. I really do.

  2. bistro permalink
    June 20, 2008 12:27 pm

    So, you’ve become an airline apologist, have you? I suppose next you’ll be defending Exxon itself, if you can spare the time, that is, from doing PR for Myanmar. Could it be a pampered journalist forgets what it’s like to pay for flying?

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