I am sitting in an American Airlines Admirals Club running numbers in my head.Normally my airport layovers do not include math problems but I need to anticipate what may soon be reality.
Let’s see, a30-something, slightly pregnant woman dressed entirely in black is carrying a duffel bag, also black, and packed so tightly that the zippers are straining.I can even see a neon green workout top peeking through the top.
A gentleman who was asleep when I took the chair opposite him just awoke, slung a navy backpack over his shoulder andheaded for the exit.
A little girl with her parents has her head buried in a Game Boy.The Game Boy and assorted other “plane diversions” are housed in a pink Dora the Explorer rollerboard suitcase that lies at her feet.Her parents sit on opposite sides of her, each tapping on laptops and simultaneously checking their watches.
My stocking feet (yes, I take my shoes off in airport lounges.At least I don’t clip my nails, a habit that is surprisingly common among today’s traveling set) rest on my Samsonite rollerboard.I packed it myself so I know it contains clothes that should get me through the next three days.My computer bag, loaded with magazines, my Kindle, my laptop and assorted travel itineraries, rests on top.
Good thing we are all flying American Airlines.If we were leaving to catch Spirit Airlines flights, by my calculations we would collectively be out $315.
It was easy to arrive at that figure; just multiply $45, the amount Spirit plans to charge for carry-on bags, by seven.Actually Spirit officials have yet to put this “new math” plan into effect but admit that they are experimenting with the idea.In other words, it’s gonna happen.
Numerous bloggers have speculated that this is just the tip of the iceberg; that airlines will soon begininstalling credit card machines over the air blowers, coin slots on the lavatory doors and ATMs on the in-flight entertainment systems.While amusing, I find this to be a defeatist attitude. Let’s not give the airlines any more ideas.
Instead, I feel it is time for passengers to take a stand and fight fire with fire.You know how credit card companies entice you to whip out the plastic for everything including a stick of gum by offering you “cash back” incentives? Hey, spend $30,000 with your new Tungsten Wehaveyettogounder bank card and we'll give you two percent back! I’m willing to pay for a carry-on bag providing Spirit Airlines, and any other airline that dares to play “follow the leader,”ponies up for the following infractions:
If a beverage cart hits a single elbow, everybody onboard gets $10.
Twenty bucks every time a pilot says, “okey dokey” over the loudspeaker.
Twenty-five dollars if that same pilot starts a sentence with, "Folks, I wish I had better news..."
Thirty dollars for turbulence.
Fifty dollars for announcing that somebody is having a birthday.It’s an airplane, not TGI Friday’s for Pete’s sake.
And finally, $100 for every hour that a plane sits on the ground due to a cloud of volcanic ash.
I’m flying back to Chicago tomorrow.I just might come out ahead.
About Greg Schwem
Greg Schwem is a corporate stand-up comedian and humorous speaker who has performed for companies such as Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, McDonald's and United Airlines. His first book, My Life Needs Recharging But I Can't Find the Adaptor...Observations, Frustrations and Life Lessons from a Low-Tech Dad will be released this summer. Visit his website by clicking here.