Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hidden Fees

While waiting in line at the airport to check in, we were guided to the now-standard check-in machines. I had completely forgotten to check in online, so this was the route we had to take. When asked how many checked bags we had, we informed the lady that we had two.

"Two checked bags. That'll be $30 please."

$30 !? What the hell ?

Apparently, on Hawaiian Airlines, every single checked bag is considered "excess". So, to check in our one suitcase and one rolling duffel, we had to shell out $30, right there at the airport. Many fellow travelers were caught off-guard by this, causing long lines and much frustration. We were fortunate to have shown up early, as we arrived at the gate with only a few minutes to spare.

This is the reality of the post-bankruptcy airline industry, and recession-laced economy. They charged us $30 to check our bags. They charged us $15 to rent a portable entertainment system with movies and the like for the flight. And yet, stunningly, they did something that I have not seen in years on an airline: They served a free meal.

Now tell me, how does that make any sense ? Charge us for everything that we absolutely require, such as bringing our belongings with us, but then give us a free crappy meal as compensation ? Sorry, but that just doesn't make it alright. And the little breakfast burrito would have been nice, had it not been riddled with onions -- onions that I hate, and that give Danny horrendous heartburn.

We passed on the free meal, but did enjoy the muffin.

I'll take free checked bags over that muffin any day. But I know the airline industry isn't listening.


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