Airlines have started to make flights “cheaper” by letting you pick what you are going to use and what you’re not going to use.
“Excuse me, I know for a FACT that I will not be using my window. I’m going to fall asleep. Can you maybe knock ten bucks off my price?”
“Sure. No worries at all.”
“Thanks… Oh, by the way, I probably won’t throw up. I mean, I’m a pretty good flyer, and unless my wife calls me to tell me she’s cheating on me with my friend Bill, who, come to think of it, has been spending a lot of time at the house recently – I should be okay. Another dollar off?”
Those things are not optional, and as it turns out, you need just about everything that they let you choose from.
For a while now, airlines have been charging for checked bags. For a bag that a few years ago they knew they had to have the human decency to just put on the plane, now they charge you for it. I think it makes sense in some cases. I’m sure years ago people would bring a trunk full of rocks onto the plane.
“I’d like to check this. You’re gonna wanna watch that. It blew the tire on the cab on the way over, and I threw my back out twice moving it. You guys have a crane you use for the bags, right? Hey! Watch it, okay? It’s fragile.”
Not long ago, though, even if an airline charged you for checked bags, you were allowed to have one for free. Now? That luxury is pretty much gone. You want your luggage to be on that plane that you paid to be on? You’re paying for it. Or maybe you’re going on vacation with nothing.
“Okay. I’m flying to Rome tomorrow. What do I need? Well, I’m going for three weeks. I got my keys, my wallet, my passport…. Yep. I think I’m ready to go. I’ll buy clothes over there. Actually, I’m not even wearing clothes on the plane. Just a robe. Let’s do it, customs. I’m ready.”
Maybe you’re not traveling far. So you think that you can bring a carry-on bag with you. You’re not checking anything, so this shouldn’t cost anything extra. Wrong! Now airlines charge for a carry-on. A bag that could really be anything. How the hell did this happen?
“We’re not making enough money on these flights. What do we do?”
“Raise the price of flights?”
“Jesus. Of COURSE we could do that. But do you think that’s evil enough? You know what? I’ve had it with you and your garbage. You’re fired! Anyone else?”
“…Ummm, we could charge people money for their carry-on bags?”
“…Now, Goddamn. THAT is an idea! We’ll charge ol’ sucker tits to bring on bags that we give them the room for anyway! That is great. You keep coming up with ideas like these, I’ll you get a raise.”
“Well, I have some more! What about charging people money to get on to the website to book their flight?”
“… There… are no… words. Pat yourself on the back, and get the hell out of here. You deserve the day off after that wicked brilliance. There will be a briefcase of money on your door step. And if you see the man I just fired, kick him in the ass and tell him your idea!”
What constitutes a carry-on? A backpack? What about a wallet? It is technically a carry-on. It holds things the same as a bag does. Is it just anything that you are not going to keep directly on you at all times? What if you are going to keep it on you? You could sit in a seat wearing a gym bag. That’s a carry-on? What about a fanny pack? Fanny packs can hold a ton. Goes around your waist like a belt. Are we charging for those?
“Whoa, a bigger wallet. Sir, we’re going to have to charge for that fanny pack.”
“Actually, I’m not a man. I’m a hot woman who thinks that this is not a fanny pack because it’s Gucci and I wear it over my arm.”
“Oh, my apologies! Most people with those are over weight men wh…, you don’t watch NASCAR?”
Isn’t that amazing? Charge you to bring on a bag that you could keep on your lap. A bag that doesn’t have to leave you at all. Are they going to start charging for pants?
“Sir, I’m sorry. It’s forty dollars to wear full-length pants. Shorts are free. Capris are twenty dollars. But full-length pants? Forty bucks. New policy. We just don’t have the room on the plane for all of the fabric.”
“But… I’m wearing it. How is there no roo…”
“Sir. Don’t embarrass yourself. Just give us the money.”
Flights will even charge you for a seat. Not an upgraded seat. Not an exit row seat. A seat! A seat now on some airlines doesn’t come with the price of the ticket! No seat! The ticket price now is just so you have the privilege of getting on the plane.
“Thank you for paying three hundred dollars for your flight! We will open the doors for you and you are allowed to step onboard. However, until you pay a bit more, do not sit down! Our seats do not come with the ticket price, you bag of trash. We have stopped you from being homeless – that is all.”
You need a seat! That is not an extra. That is not a perk! They’ll let you fly without a bag; they will not let you fly without a seat. You HAVE to buy a seat or you can’t fly. It’s complete robbery. If you could fly without a seat, people would do it to save money.
“Man, this flight only cost me four dollars! I refused all of the luxuries! No seat, no bags, no free peanuts, no washroom privileges. Nothing! I heard that starting next year they’ll let you fly for free if you agree to be apart of the landing gear. Oh, man! Thailand here I come! Hey, can I go ask the pilot for a transfer like this is a bus? I’m standing like it’s one.”
You don’t get a seat anymore? That’s completely ridiculous. No one else could get away with this.
“Yes, sir. The steak is forty dollars. A plate is an extra three dollars.”
“Plate? You don’t give me a plate with this? Well, I’m not tipping.”
“That is impossible, sir. Gratuity is included in the bill. We win at every turn. So… plate?”
Also, the whole ‘Cheap Flights!’ sentiment is basically a lie. You’ll see ads that say, “Fly to the other side of the earth for two hundred dollars!” then you look at the small print and the tax is eight hundred dollars! If the tax is higher than the price, then that’s the price! You can’t say it’s ten bucks if the tax is four thousand dollars.
“Hey! Come get this free TV!”
“Oh, man! I’ll take it!”
“Good choice! How would you like to pay? That’ll be seven hundred dollars.”
“What? You said it was free.”
“Oh, it is! The tax on free, though, is seven hundred dollars. I know, it doesn’t make any sense! But think of the deal you’re getting here. Free!”
“Free! Take my credit card and charge it! I’m getting a free TV!”
And this isn’t tax! Tax on ten bucks is about a dollar. What world are you living in that the tax on something is way higher than the price?
“See, people thought they were paying too much before. So we started doing this new thing, where we say something is very cheap, and then have the tax be two thousand percent of that. People are paying the exact same amount, but they feel they are getting a deal. It’s kinda the same as if a woman offers you a hand job and then fully has sex with you.”
“…It’s nothing like that at all. And who the hell are you? You pulled my headphones off while I was trying to write. What do you want?”
“Oooohhhh, I’m sorry. I guess people at this Starbucks don’t want to hear the tale of the ‘price lowering, tax highering’ debacle of the late 2000s. Soooorrryyyy. You buy a latte four days ago in here and somehow your opinion doesn’t mean anything. I see how it is!”
If airlines are now going to charge for things we should be getting anyway, we should start getting some other options. Some options we might actually want. When are they going to start charging you for the ability to tell the stewardess what we don’t want to hear? How much would that cost?
“If you would direct your attention to the front, we will be going over the safety features of this air cr…”
“We get it. The safety features. We’ve all flown before. Can you just shut it!”
“Me ‘shutting it’ is an extra charge of ten dollars.”
“Here! Just stop telling me how to buckle a seat belt!”
How about being able to pay a bit more to keep your headphones on? Which would basically just be money to fly as an adult. You were old enough to book the flight, pay for it, but you are not an adult enough to decide whether you wear headphones or not? How about a fee to have no babies on a flight? I don’t mean kids. I mean babies. Babies scream. A lot. It’s annoying to hear on the street, but in a tube that you are stuck in? Whoa. If there had been a baby in that canyon, ‘127 Hours’ would have a very different ending.
“Ah, God! My arm is stuck under this rock! What the hell will I do? I have enough water to last a fe….”
“Waaaaa! Waaaaa! WAAAAA!”
“A baby? There’s a baby in this canyon!? Well, that settles it. I can’t deal with this!” (<smashes his head off of rock until he passes out>)
Yes, people with babies have to fly with babies, but some of it is just unnecessary.
“We’re taking little Ted here to Florida! He can’t wait!”
“Waaaa! Waaaaaa! WAAAAAAA!”
“Well, he doesn’t know you’re taking him to Florida. He’ll be very happy when he grows up, though, to see pictures of the time you took him to see Mickey at a time when he couldn’t enjoy it. How much to get this baby out of here!”
How about being able to pay some money so that they don’t try to sign you up for a credit card in the air? There’s almost nothing more offensive than that. Being stuck in a tube that is flying through the air, and having someone trying to get you to sign up for credit. The only equivalent to that on earth is if you found yourself stuck inside a priority mailbox with a banker.
“Greetings, sir! Do you want to hear about our interest rates?”
“What the hell is going on?! Am I inside a mailbox!?”
“Not quite, sir. You’re inside a box that SENDS mail.”
“Well, how the hell did that happen? I was just walking down the street…”
“And you came across a man holding a goat’s head?”
“Yeah! I bumped into him by accident, then I en…”
“Yep, there you have it. Bumped into a witch doctor. Me too. But that hasn’t stopped me from trying to make an extra dollar for a company that doesn’t care about me. Now let’s talk limit. You have thirty thousand dollars of debt. How about a card with a million dollar limit?”
Nathan Macintosh is an award winning comedian from Halifax Nova Scotia, who has been heard and seen on the CBC's The Debaters, Just For Laughs Comedy Festival, Halifax Comedy Festival, and the Comedy Network/CTV. Nathan tours North America, and was named one of the "New Generation of Canadian Funnymen" by Sharp Magazine.

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