I’ve always enjoyed Steve Martin’s comedy. One of his first movies, “The Jerk,” is one of my favorites. In the movie, there’s a scene where our hero, Navin Johnson, takes a job as a carnival barker, guessing people’s age/weight. In the scene, one of his customers “wins” the game and Navin has to give him his prize. As he turns toward the shelves of prizes, he tells the man that he can choose:
“Uh, anything in this general area right in here. Anything below the stereo and on this side of the bicentennial glasses. Anything between the ashtrays and the thimble. Anything in this three inches right in here in this area. That includes the Chiclets, but not the erasers.”
Have you felt lately that the baggage space on an airplane is like Navin’s prize shelf? Endlessly accommodating, but only three inches of space for YOUR bag? “OH, it costs $50 to check my bag? Well, I will pack less next time and carry my bag on! What? Spirit Airlines wants $45 to carry on a bag? I guess I’ll pack even less and shove it up under my seat!” Your options are getting severely limited, quickly. The small space under the seat in front of you is the only free option left available to you!
I’ve asked this before, and I’ll ask it again: Why don’t the airlines just add the additional fuel cost to fly the bags into the price of the ticket? It would make things so much easier for the business fliers to manage their travel expenses. Also, this new little “gem” of a policy has to be a nightmare for family vacationers who may not have remembered to budget the $400 to $500 it will cost to move a family of four and their carry-on luggage on a round trip flight.
I wonder how they administer this policy. Do the flight attendants wander the aisles with credit card scanners, collecting payment? Are you issued a “bag token” at the gate after you pay, and then you give your token to the flight attendant after you stow your bag? What happens if you stare down the gate attendant and swear to her that you have no luggage whatsoever? Will she believe you? Will she charge you a “no baggage” fee? What if you arrive at the airport fully nude? Wave to the security scanners as you walk through, moon the gate agent, and just fly, naked, to your destination?
I’m not suggesting that you fly naked, but perhaps it’s time to revisit my idea about flying with no luggage. Buy some cheap clothes at a discount store, wear them for your duration, then donate them and collect a tax receipt on your way home!
EXTRA: If you have questions for Ken regarding business travel, hotels, airplanes, etc, please call 1-877-49-EXPERT. Your questions will be recorded and sent to him. You can also follow Ken on Twitter @foodbreeze!