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Rant, Travel

Airlines Will Run Out Of Fees, But Only When Pigs Can Fly

It is entirely possible that Airlines will soon revoke the law of diminishing returns.

And I’m not talking about their profits, but instead their ability to come up with new ways to tack on charges.

United Airlines has just begun to offer a new ‘service’, which they’ve dubbed Premier Line.

Board the airplane sooner and get earlier access to overhead bin space with Premier Line. You’ll also enjoy the benefits of priority check-in and priority security, where available. Premier Line is now offered in all United® and United Express® airports in the U.S.

So United will now charge you to board the aircraft earlier than your seat-mates. They should more honestly call it ‘Front Of The Line’, but that would invoke images of class warfare.

There Is Really No End In Sight

They’ve figured out that as more people bring along carry-on baggage, overhead bin space is becoming a scarce resource, and passengers  will pay for a leg-up so to speak.

And how much will they pay? The ad says it is ‘starting’ at $9, but we know that’s a teaser.

So I checked it out on my favorite San Francisco to London flight. In that real world case the actual charge $39 per passenger, one-way.

That doesn’t really guarantee you anything except the opportunity to stand closer to the door.

I’m not sure how many passengers will jump at this option, but I think there would be a larger market for the opportunity to get off the plane earlier.

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9 thoughts on “Airlines Will Run Out Of Fees, But Only When Pigs Can Fly

  1. Arg…seriously? I have nightmares that they’re going to start charging extra for a window or aisle seat and those of us who refuse to pay get smooshed in the middle between a rock and a hard place. Sshhhh. Better to not give them any ideas….

    Posted by Marsha | August 30, 2010, 8:36 am
  2. Yes — the extra $10 to get OFF the plane! I’m posting this link to FaceBook.

    Posted by Heather | August 30, 2010, 10:16 am
  3. Iam’s thinking about Social Darwinism… Whoever can club there way to the front of the line will get the overhead bin space. At $39 for this “Service” couldn’t you pay for an extra bag?

    Posted by Iam Noone | August 30, 2010, 10:30 am
    • I like it, a new option could be ‘Club Service’ where you are allowed one weapon to use in the boarding line.

      On that SFO -> LHR flight you are allowed 1 checked bag. The fee for an extra bag is $50, or $45 if you purchase it online before departure.

      Posted by Bob Gelber | August 30, 2010, 10:36 am
  4. Could there possibly be a new Fox TV reality series based on boarding planes maybe we could call it “Domestic and International Fights”.

    Posted by Iam Noone | August 30, 2010, 9:07 pm
  5. I for one am all in favor of airlines charging confiscatory rates for travel. It will help thin the herd and help keep the riff raff out of the skies and on the bus where they belong.

    Posted by Pedro | August 31, 2010, 1:33 pm
  6. You know Bob, Greyhound now has FREE wifi and charging outlets at every seat….So you could see the USA up close and personal and not from thirty five thousand feet.
    Just as in the Simon and Garfunkle song, you and Leslie could do the “America tour” , blogging all the way, while you re-connect with the real people of America.

    “Kathy,” I said as we boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh
    “Michigan seems like a dream to me now”
    It took me four days to hitchhike from Saginaw
    I’ve gone to look for America

    Laughing on the bus
    Playing games with the faces
    She said the man in the gabardine suit was a spy
    I said “Be careful his bowtie is really a camera”

    How great would that be?

    Posted by Pedro | August 31, 2010, 9:59 pm
    • Sal,

      You’re still a romantic at heart, I admire that. And I looked up ‘gabardine’ which is probably no longer made in America.


      The material was invented in the late 19th century by Thomas Burberry, founder of the Burberry fashion house in Basingstoke, and patented in 1888. The fabric takes its name from the “gaberdine”, spelled with an ‘e’, which is a long, loose overgarment tied at the waist.

      Burberry clothing of gabardine was worn by polar explorers including Roald Amundsen, the first man to reach the South Pole, in 1911, and Ernest Shackleton, who led a 1914 expedition to cross Antarctica. A jacket made of this material was worn by George Mallory on his ill-fated attempt on Mount Everest in 1924.

      More recently:

      [1] In Simon and Garfunkel’s song “America”, the two travelers play games with the faces on the bus: “She said the man in the gabardine suit was a spy.”

      [2] In Patricia Highsmith’s novel Strangers on a Train, Charles Bruno (the psychopathic killer) is seen at a dinner wearing a gabardine suit.

      [3] In the Seinfeld episode “The Chinese Woman” Jerry says to Elaine “The only thing between him and us is a thin layer of gabardine.” In the episode “The Sniffing Accountant”, the man who feels Elaine’s suit jacket asks if the material is gabardine.

      [4] Starting in season 3 of the television show Star Trek: The Next Generation, actors portraying members of Starfleet wore uniforms made of wool gabardine. Producers called for a switch to this material after actors complained that the form-fitting spandex uniforms they wore in seasons 1 and 2 were tight and uncomfortable.

      Posted by Bob Gelber | September 1, 2010, 6:35 am

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