5:12 PM

Who Saw This Coming?
Oh Wait...Everyone!

As the airlines go about the task of making flying in their pressurized tubes even more uncomfortable and irritating, they seem to keep finding new ways to piss their passengers off. You can almost hear the embarrassment in the flight attendant's voice as he/she tells you over the loudspeaker that water is FOR SALE on the flight. Water.

But having to shell out a couple of bucks for water pales in comparison to those insane baggage charges that all of the lines seem to be charging. And always on the cutting edge of customer dissatisfaction, now United has taken this to a whole new level. Here is ABC News with the details:

"United Airlines has doubled its fee for a second checked bag to $50, citing volatile fuel prices. United says the $50 one-way fee will apply for tickets bought beginning Tuesday for travel beginning November 10 within the U.S. or to or from Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands."
Fifty bucks...one way? Are they insane? So let me get this straight. According to United's own site, if you bought an coach seat on or after 09.16.08 and are going on a long vacation with so much crap that you can't fit it into your backpack, you are so screwed. Two checked bags will ding you $65 going and $65 coming, or a total of $130 added to the price of the ticket. If that sounds like one hell of a cash cow, this story in USA Today will confirm your suspicions:
"According to data released by the Department of Transportation Monday, the U.S. airlines industry collected $183 million in excess-baggage fees in the second quarter of 2008. The DOT defines excess baggage as any bag that requires payment for checking."
Based on all of this, it explains why the overhead compartments on all commercial airliners I have flown in recently were stuffed full of someone else's stuff. You know the drill:
If you are unlucky enough to draw a late boarding group, trying to find space for a roller is impossible. On most flights now I am forced to jam my LowePro camera/computer bag under the seat in front of me...into that little space where your feet are supposed to go. That means because some other pax tried to save a nickel and carried on two rollers, a computer, a steamer chest, two large Snap-On Tools rollaway tool cabinets, and a Coleman ice chest full of dead carp (don't ask...actually happened once), I am stuck with my two left feet crammed into about 11" of floor space immediately under my tray table.
And now that the wholesale price of crude has dropped below $100, it makes carriers like United look greedy...trying to squeeze every last cent out of every living soul in their system. This gouging just makes Dano Airlines look that much better, and we still don't charge anything for water or suitcases.

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