Carry On

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It’s a new low for the flying public.  For a frequent flyer who takes pride in knowing how to use the overhead space and never check a bag, it is the ultimate indignity.

Spirit Airlines has declared that come Aug. 1, Spirit will charge passengers on domestic and international flights $30 for each carry-on bag.  If you show up at the gate with a carry-on bag, you’ll pay even more: $45.

The charges apply only to bags placed in overhead bins. Personal items, such as purses, will incur no charge if they fit beneath the seat.   Well, thanks so much.  Whatever happened to the Airline Passenger Bill of Rights?  Wasn’t there a move to make airline travel better, not worse?

My real fear is that airlines seem to follow one another with their policies.  What one does, they all tend to do.  It is time to continue to fight back.  Rather, it’s time to roll back.  Many business analysts put airlines into the “utility” sector.  Some friends with sophisticated solar systems tell me their electric meters go backwards and the local utilities actually pay them!  (Since I still pay a huge electric bill, this data is not verified.)

The airlines seem to want to adjust our behavior and our wallets at every step of airline travel, why don’t we apply the same “turn the meter backwards” logic to the airlines?  I have a few ideas:

If we don’t use the bathroom during a flight, we should get a rebate because we wasted no precious blue fluid used in the lavatory.

–    By refusing to take a free soft drink when the cart comes around we should get a reduced fare. Enlisting those around us on the plane to just say no to that can of Bloody Mary mix could reap a bonus.

If we sit in the middle seat even when the aisle or window seat is available we get credits or discounts.  I know those aisle and window seats are precious so we won’t use them if we get a deal.

The less we weigh the lighter the airplane and the less fuel it will burn.  Therefore, ticket prices should be determined by one’s weight.  This could help our national problem with obesity as well.

Turning off the little air conditioner vent and the overhead light should save some energy so if we use neither air or light we should get a discount.

–    Regarding airline staff, if we arrive extra early for the flight which gives the luggage handlers extra time to handle and promise not to talk to flight attendants, thus wasting their precious time, we should get a discount too.

Cleaning up the plane as we disembark should be worth something and how about for those seated at the windows, if they clean all the greasy hair smudges off the windows, definitely a prize.

Best yet, why don’t we get rid of all overhead space?  The dance for that space while boarding causes stress, back aches and fist fights.  Maybe then, planes would leave on time and the airlines can’t blame the passengers for late departures.

These are just a few of the many ideas I have for Spirit Airlines and others as they continue to work us hard for pennies.

Spirit’s chief operating officer, Ken McKenzie, said in a statement that in addition to lowering fares, the fees will also reduce the number of carry-on bags, which will improve safety and will speed up the boarding and deplaning process. “Bring less; pay less,” he said. “It’s simple.”

My ideas are simple too.  Are you listening?


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