by Walter Brasch
America's airlines--they're the ones who told passengers to take a flying leap--have wallpapered the country with ads focusing upon how inexpensive their basic airfares are.
While I don't enjoy flying, I recently had to get from here to there and back. A few of the details are hazy, but I'm sure this is how my conversation went with a ticket agent.
"I'd like a ticket," I said with a smile.
"No problem," said the agent, equally smiling, "that'd be $300."
"But I didn't tell you where I'm going."
"Makes no difference. We're running a special this month. Anywhere for only $300. Now, would you like a seat?"
"Of course I'd like a seat!" I said.
"$75," said the agent.
"But you said the ticket was only $300."
"And it is. But if you'd like a seat, that's a surcharge."
"That's outrageous. What if I didn't want a seat?"
"We have a special this month only. No seat is only $25."
"$25 for not getting a seat?"
"No, sir," said the agent. "The $25 is for a strap on the ceiling to hold onto."
"What if I don't want a strap?"
"Sir, the FAA requires it."