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Cheap Air Fares: Just Add Surcharges

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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."

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www.walterbrasch.com

Walter Brasch is an award-winning journalist and professor of journalism emeritus. His current books are Before the First Snow: Stories from the Revolution , America's Unpatriotic Acts: The Federal Government's Violation of Constitutional (more...)
 
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The airline industry is a very strange industry. I... by Samson on Monday, Oct 4, 2010 at 4:07:24 PM
Everyone has alternatives. You don't have to fly.... by Doc McCoy on Tuesday, Oct 5, 2010 at 1:37:29 AM
A man sits in the restaurant at the airport when a... by Vaikunthanath Kaviraj on Tuesday, Oct 5, 2010 at 11:10:13 AM