Monday, June 1, 2009

The Horror

Today's Bizarro is brought to you buy Tough Money.

Don't get me started about airlines. Too late, I'm started.

I used to love to travel, but between the absurd pricing structures of airlines and the idiotic ritualistic voodoo practices of the T.S.A., I can barely stand it.

This cartoon got a good amount of mail from people who so closely resemble one side of the cartoon or the other that they were sure I was behind them in line at the airport. The simple reason is that this happens all the time.

Tiny people pay extra for a bag weighing two pounds more than a gigantic person's bag, because the airlines need to charge for "extra weight."

I've never bought jet fuel, but I'm sure it is very expensive and the airlines would like to charge more for extra weight. Fine. Can't blame them. But if they attack the problem where it really exists – in the seats of coach, not the luggage compartment – there would be discrimination lawsuits-a-plenty. Some people can't help being heavy (some), no argument here. But does it give them the right to be charged the same when they are consuming more services?

What if they charged per pound for luggage and passengers alike? It takes more fuel to fly a 300 lb man across the country than it does to fly me at less than half the weight, so he'd paying the same amount for goods and services, but since he consumes more, the price is higher. He pays the same for food as I do, but he consumes more. We aren't charged the same per meal in a restaurant, even though I am ordering 1/3 as much as he, so why the airfare inequity? There is no logic to elven folk (like my wife and I) being charged $25 or more for a bag that weighs five pounds more than King Kong's.

But the air travel shenanigans don't end there.

Once you've been fleeced by at the baggage counter, it's off to the security line where you're forced to take off your shoes even if they are flip-flops (because security employees can't be trusted to discern between a thin piece of foam rubber and platform boots full of nuclear weapons), you're only allowed to bring the amount of liquid that will fit into a 3 oz. bottle and only as many of those as will fit into a magic-sized bag (because no one would ever think to team up with someone else and combine their explosive liquids on board), you can't bring a 3 oz. bottle of alcohol on the plane because that's a "security" violation, (but wait, they sell that stuff on board! Does the T.S.A. know this?!), and you can have four 3 oz. bottles of liquid in your magic bag but not one 12 oz. bottle (you can't expect all T.S.A. employees to carry calculators to do the math, right?), and if you're wearing a T-shirt with a long-sleeved garment over it and that garment has buttons it's a "shirt" and can be worn through the metal detector, but if it has a zipper (even a plastic one), it's a "jacket" and must be taken off. Sure, makes perfect sense.

But at least we're "safe."

Once you get to the plane and take your seat, you find you're sitting next to the gigantic guy with the "free" luggage and his girth is hanging over the armrest, so your personal space has been diminished by 10%, even though you paid more to fly.

Then the plane is late to Atlanta (always avoid Atlanta!) and you miss your connecting flight and have to stay overnight, but it was because of "weather," so the airline doesn't have to pay for your motel room.

Then you wake up at 5 a.m. to catch the first flight of the day, put on the clothes you were wearing the day before because you have no luggage, and rush off to the airport in the dark.

You make the flight, it crashes on landing, you're the only survivor and you spend a fortune on therapists for the rest of your life.

And your cat peed on your bed because you were late getting home.

I may never leave the house again.


Jesse B. Hannah said...

I'm not sure why, but every time I go through airport security I get this almost irresistible urge to put a picture of Dick Cheney's face on either a dartboard or a punching bag. Just flew to New Jersey from Phoenix and back a week later on family vacation, and my mom kept telling me not to complain about security while we were still in earshot of the whole operation. I just told her, "Okay, I'll complain about it later."

Anonymous said...

Wow, wild timing of this post and the Air France disaster. I guess that if you arrive alive, all the other inconveniences don't really amount to much in perspective.

derekamalo said...

dan being a big man myself i do actually understand what you mean

i go into coach at 350lbs thats a lot of weight so pretend im an average male of say 180lbs...techniacally my access weight is 3 overweight bags

understandable bro

however a lot of people who bring up the vegan side of you would believe you are attacking oevrweight riders and not the airlines of course

last time i was on a plane i asked for the extend a belt and grab a seat towards the aisle..however a really obese woman was on the side of me sprauled out and making me hang over the end..

when im on a plane im aware of my width i fold my hands in and usually get off the plane cramped as i attempt to neverr make contact with person on side of me

however this lady was sprauled out laughing with her headphones on and having the time of her life i wanted to pick a fight with her right there and say wtf

i sighed several times as the stewardesses walked by apparently she noticed what was going on and asked the lady to switch seats with her daughter who was at the window aisle..

for the record it worked out well as we were both able to extend arms and i could care less if i nailed her daughter in he face with my elbow as i hate kids

with all this being said i do see your point where the excess weight really is hahahaha it is funny

Unknown said...

See Dan, what you should do to give the airlines a piece of your mind is check out this site:

You can order a metallic plate with the Bill of Rights written on it. Then, after going through the nonsensical security bull, when you pass through the metal detector and set it off, you can tell the guard, "Oh, that's just my copy of the Bill of Rights. Here you go, take my rights away." This is best done when there are a lot of people around you in the airport.

doug nicodemus said...

we take the train now...when cate and i first met i discovered that she had never been anywhere...i mean anywhere i decided to take her to my favorite orleans, phoenix, denver and san francisco. I spent 12 years in new orleans so we went there first and then the next year we flew to phoenix...when we got back...i accidentally overheard her saying how much she HATED to fly. made he ill, scared the bejeezus out of her.. but she was doing it CAUSE Of Me.

god i felt bad so without letting on i said honey lets take the train to new orleans...(yes we took the City Of New Orleans) and she was all happy....OH YA lets go..took the zephyr to both denver and san fran ...OH YAH next is DC.. trains are good

Alice Kottmyer said...

Oh. . . and the nutty "utensils" they give you if you're lucky enough to upgrade to bidness class. Plastic knives (because real knives are dangerous), but REAL forks. You know how much damage can be done with a real fork? (Hint-- lots)

This -- all of this -- is why I got my pilot's license and bought a little Cessna. It can't get me to Europe, but nothing's happening there anyway.

Waldo said...

While working for an aerospace company selling components to Boeing in the early 90's, we were told that for every pound that we reduced on our product, the airplane's owner would save $10,000 in fuel over the life of the plane. (This was when gas was cheap)

But the misogynistic crusty old engineers would mutter that they should just hire skinny flight attendants but, personally, I would rather have the ladies from Lufthansa (former East German swimmers?) who could sling me over their back and get me out of a burning plane versus the petite ladies from Singapore Airlines who I will be carrying to safety.

But to truly save on fuel, they should remove the crappy magazines and shopping catalogs that must weigh a pound per seat (@ $10,000 per pound on a 200 seat plane - $2,000,000 extra fuel cost per plane)

Life Just Doesn't Make Sense said...

LOVE IT... so true.
I got pulled aside to be tested for bomb residue because my ticket said i should get extra attention... dont think terrorists would travel on tickets red flagging them, surely they could afford 'clean' tickets!

Matt Henderson said...

Just as odd is the fact that a 100 pound woman actually NEEDS more luggage than a 300 pound man. The rule is that I pack under my allowance every time, and then my wife "borrows" my spare space.

Demeter said...

AND THEN the cat went over to your grandmother's and ate her because she died.

Anonymous said...

On (some?) domestic flights in the Philippines the passengers are weighed together with the luggage, just as you suggested. It's an excellent system and I'm all for it!

I'm not a tiny person, btw. I just think all excess weight should be charged.

Anonymous said...

Nice Post

E. Nowak said...

They're charging for fatties too now, Dan.

Phoenician said...

That was as neurotic a post as ever. Sure your name isn't 'Pastis'? d:

P.L. Frederick said...

You've enlightened me. I'd never thought about a plane's carrying capacity in just this way before. YOU, dear sir, make a ton of sense. That'll be $12,677.28. Yes, you may pay by credit card.

P.L. Frederick (Small & Big)

Joe Mastroianni said...

Hey Dan..
Quit making sense.
Some people might read this you know.

Dave said...

Do the clothes of overweight people weigh more?

Michelle said...

Air travel is bad for the planet anyway....

birdfeed said...

Thank you so much for speaking for me so often Dan.