Thursday, May 15, 2008

Off we go into the wild blue yonder

Ellie and I have not flown on an airplace since before 9/11. I retired about a year and a half before that so all of my employer-paid business flying had come to an end. Our gadding about in recent years has all been by automobile. But that is about to change, because we plan to fly to Texas for a family get-together in late June (and boy, will our arms be tired--I know, it's an old joke). I have been poking about on the Internet to find low fares because there's no point in giving the scoundrels more money than you have to. But our friends in the airline industry have come up with a few surprises since I last made my way down a concourse. Along with the special deals that make air travel so affordable these days, you should be aware that a few extra fees are hidden in the fine print.

The “fares” do not include a Federal excise tax of $3.50 per takeoff and landing, airport-assessed passenger facility charges (PFC) of up to $9, and a government-imposed September 11th Security Fee of up to $5 one-way. They let us fly their friendly skies at a low, low price, but then charge us for extra frills like taking off and landing. I'm serious. Those necessities, without which a flight cannot be considered truly complete, are now chargeable extras. And though I understand about the need for a September 11th Security Fee, really I do (someone, after all, has to pay for the screeners' wages and their scanning equipment), just what is the “passenger facility charge” for? Breathing their air?

I must not let my blood pressure get too high. I still have to go through security.

The photo above is not the plane we'll be taking next month. It's a Douglas DC-3, the type of aircraft on which I took my first plane ride, back in 1955, between Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I just included it for old times' sake.


  1. I just stumbled over here from someone else's blog--can't remember whose. I'll make a generic comment. I like all your trivia and literary and historic references. I'm a writer and editor for educational publisher--mostly in social studies and language arts--and I felt right at home here!

  2. Ruth, thanks for commenting on my blog. I'm glad you felt right at home here!

    I once thought I would become an English teacher, only to find myself converted into a computer programmer by the United States Air Force. Afterward, I wrote technical manuals for IBM and AT&T for many years (so that I could earn more money than a teacher would, so that I could raise a family more easily), but that sort of creativity is nothing at all like blogging. Now in my dotage I have returned to my first love.

    I am fairly new to blogging, and I am grateful for every single reader!

  3. Okay, haven't blogged in 5, almost 6 days! I thought you'd blog about the exciting weekend you had behind the enemy lines of Alabamistan sooner than this...I'm highly offended ;-)