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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Add-ons fail to add up

Mike Morin

It’s time to fight back! The airlines are taking us for a ride. And that’s before they take us for a ride.

U.S. airlines picked your pocket to the tune of $5.7 billion last year. Twenty-five dollars here for a checked bag. Thirty-five for a second bag. Two hundred dollars to take your pet on the flight. And what did you get for these add-ons? You went to Cleveland (lucky you), and your suitcase took a vacation in Honolulu (lucky suitcase).

It’s true. Running an airline costs more than it once did, but if they need extra money, charge me a $60 fuel surcharge instead of dinging me $60 for my baggage. Let’s recap, shall we? For many, not all airlines, you can expect:

 • Checked bags: Pay extra.

 • Overweight bag: Pay more.

 • Travel with pet: Cough it up, Sparky.

 • Beverage/snack: Bring your own.

 • Book flight by phone: Pay extra if you’re lucky enough to get an answer.

 • Unaccompanied minor: You may not pay with your first born. Cash is king, remember?

Beginning with my next flight, I’m putting all airlines on notice, (except Southwest Airlines, since they have the brains to let my bags fly free) that two can play this game. I will begin charging them for the following:

 • $5 for every minute the plane is late in departing. I don’t care about weather, since you don’t care that my lovely Lady Baba needs at lease two bags for her girly froo-froo stuff.

 • $40 for every time I get stuck in a middle seat. Add $10 for excessive talkers and $15 for people who fall asleep on my shoulder and drool on my magazine.

 • $10 for serving me some unidentified extruded snack product that even a famished dog would not eat.

 • $25 for every occurrence of a kid behind me who insists on kicking my seat while I try to sleep.

 • $100 for excessive turbulence; $5 surcharge if the barf bag in my seat pocket has already been used.

 • Pressure change-induced ear popping – no charge.

 • $50 if I’m assigned to sit in an emergency exit row. This covers any possible work I may be required to do in the event of an unexpected evacuation.

 • $1,000 for a water landing. I’ve never fancied myself holding on to a seat cushion as a flotation device. Who knows who’s been sitting on those cushions? Yuck!

 • $6 for an in-flight magazine where a previous passenger has already filled out the crossword puzzle; $2 for every mistake I find on the puzzle.

 • $1 for a cup of soda that contains six or more ice cubes.

Have I missed anything? Oh, I forgot: $300 every time a pilot accidentally overshoots the airport by a few hundred miles or lands in a swamp somewhere. These, ladies and gentlemen, are my suggestions for a flying public’s bill of rights. Ding. You are now free to hire a lawyer before your next trip to Cincinnati.

Hear Mike Morin weekdays from 5-10 a.m. on “New Hampshire in the Morning” on 95.7 WZID. Contact him at Heymikey@aol.com. His column runs the first, third and fifth Tuesdays of the month.