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.