Monday, December 8, 2014

Overhead


A few years ago when we all got chips and pickles on the side for free, and we were only charged for outgoing calls we also got to bring free luggage for flights but it looks like the good old days are over. On a positive note we do still have free refills on drinks in certain restaurants and if you’re short of sweeteners or napkins you are free to take as many of those as you want. No one seems to mind. I suppose you could also collect ketchup and mustard packets and a few extra salt and peppers as the airline attendant rolls by your seat.
              
From 2007 to 2010, baggage fees grew at a compounding rate of 94.11 percent each year. Although its more on us now, ancillary fees, such as baggage fees, have represented a golden turnaround opportunity for airlines plagued by heavy losses. In any case, airline fees are here to stay which calls for action and a few people have tried. How can we forget when in 2012 a passenger heading to Kenya tried to save a few yuan by making his way through security at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport while wearing every article of clothing he brought along for the trip. All told, security agents counted some 70 pieces of clothing, which included as many as 60 shirts and nine pairs of jeans. Though the unidentified man aroused suspicion before entering the checkpoint due to his "sumo wrestler"-like appearance, what ultimately foiled his foolproof scheme were the batteries, flash drives, and miscellaneous toys in his pockets that triggered the metal detector and prompted a full-body search. Asked why he didn't just put all his clothes in a suitcase, the man reportedly said he was hoping to avoid paying the extra fee for checked baggage.
              
It actually wasn't a bad idea except he had too much to wear. And speaking of fees, if you want to save money don’t fly Spirit Airlines or Allegiant Air. Allegiant charges $35 per bag and Spirit is worse at $50 per bag. It’s important to remember they don’t charge for a personal bag though. A personal bag is still free. It’s no wonder all men haven’t started using man purses or backpacks to save on these baggage fees. Why not? Just stuff a weekends worth of clothing in there and jump on the plane to save the fees. Either that or go shopping once you get there. Before you leave just put in your new man bag.
              
I don't mean to "carry-on" but the reality is every time I’ve flown in the last couple years the number of carry-ons just doesn’t seem to change and I watch with increasing impatience as the airline attendants struggle to shove them all in the overhead compartments. I have to ask myself why so much extra packing is still going on? If I had an airline I would forbid the carry-ons. Before you entered the plane in big red letters a sign would say. WARNING. ONE PERSONAL BAG ONLY. NO OVERHEAD COMPARTMENTS. WE SAVED YOU THE FEES AND EXPANDED THE SEAT SIZES. REST ASSURED IF THE PLANE GOES DOWN YOU WON'T GET HIT BY FLYING CARRY-ONS. Have a nice day.
              
I guess it all depends on who you are but as for me, I bring a small back pack and check the rest in. If not for fees just speed and convenience. I still have the impulse to scream while thinking about it all, especially when take offs are clearly delayed for all the carry-ons still being shoved in the overheads. And don’t forget all those bags falling on top of your head as people grab them out to leave once you arrive. Half the time all those passengers who overpacked, caused delays, and paid all those fees, can’t even pull them down safely so your husband is doing it for them or you are. Maybe I can charge my own fee for that. Sigh.