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Ray in Pasadena

AIRLINE BAGGAGE FEES

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Understandably, "JUST CHAT" allows a wide range of topics to be aired here, including minute details of how the roller coaster at Palisades Park was assembled, the height of the railings on top of The Heliport and other trivia too numerous to mention.

Now let's review the latest news about baggage costs as you use air travel to get to New York (the next SIP 2008) or Disney World, Orlando or any other destination for that matter. There's going to be a $15 per bag charge when you check them aboard your flight and that's the same cost for the return trip.

Can you imagine FEDEX, UPS or the Post Office adding another $15 per box to ship it anywhere in the USA? You'll revolt and march on Pennsylvania Avenue!

So, do this. Calculate the amount you'll need to pay for your baggage (round trip). Go to your bank and ask for an equal amount in rolled coins, preferably nickels and pennies. At the airline counter, pay your baggege fees with rolled coins which of course is legal tender! Imagine a 747 boarding 300 passengers each with two checked bags and it makes you wonder where would they store all of the coinage? How would they manage to move it to the bank?

Consider the delays at the counter as planes are held at the gates waiting for passengers to board long after the scheduled departure. Imagine the frustration as airline clerks count the money. They may even require you to write your name and phone number on each roll of coins. Guaranteed, the airlines would soon rethink their new ploy to rake money from your wallet.

Join in by circulating this message to everyone you know, letters to the editor, comments on blogs, etc. Tell the airline travellers to quietly protest this robbery by paying in U.S. CURRENCY!

Ray Dashner (Building the new Travellers Aid Headquarters).

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Sickening. There is absolutely no pleasure anymore in commercial airline travel. Lost baggage, now you have to pay $15 for them to lose your baggage anyway. Security delays. Ill mannered "flight attendents". Disgusting peanuts. Smelly seatmates. Windows so scratched up that you can't see well out of them, let alone get good pictures. Traveling by commercial air is almost as unpleasant these days as taking a greyhound bus. I haven't flown anywhere since June 2001. Remember back in the day....when there were Stewardesses with bright white teeth and immaculate uniforms who served hot, fresh meals on the plane, and were well stocked with substitues for the finicky eater. They even brought after dinner mints!

The railroads are expected to make a comeback in the near future. Amtrak is already adding on Pulman like luxury cars to their transcontinental fleet.

Of course, it will be uber expensive, even more so than first class air travel. The coach seats on the train are very comfortable recliners, however the biggest problem with coach rail travel is the noisy people who have loud conversations on their cell phones throughout the trip, with no consideration to other passengers. Oh yeah, also the kids climbing over the seats and annoying people as the parents look out the window and pretend not to notice.

Let's face it. The only way to travel and really enjoy it these days is with one's own vehicle. Despite the horrific gas prices, one has the freedom to move at will, as well as the sacred privacy. There is of course along with the gas, tolls, traffic, and the constant risk of collision due to another driver being reckless or negligent, but at least you don't have to worry about someone elses kid screaming for hours and smelling dirty diapers when trying to eat a snack.

Here's a great joke-

I was traveling on the train one time, and just took my seat and was taking a look around to get used to the surroundings. Across the aisle from me was this woman. She had her baby with her. Ugly baby. Sorry, don't mean to offend. The kid was ugly. No way around it. I didn't stare, just took a quick glance over, then settled into my seat and tried to forget about it.

Shortly after, some guy enters from the lounge car, very very drunk. He comes walking up the aisle, and stops dead in his tracks in front of the woman, with his eyes locked on the baby and a look of horror on his face. The woman asks him "what are you looking at?" The guy says "I'm looking at that ugly baby your holding. Do you know how much money you are going to save on babysitters? Nobody is going to go near that kid. Walk into the bank, they'll let you right up to the front of the line." The woman freaks out, gets up and pulls the emergency brake. The train comes to a screeching halt and the conductor comes in.

He asks the woman "What happened? What's going on here?" The woman replies "This man just insulted me, and I am not going to spend this ridiculous high price riding this train to have some degenerate, out of control drunk come over to my seat and insult me like that."

The conductor say's "Ma'am I am terribly sorry. We go to great length to make sure all of our passengers are happy. Perhaps we can upgrade your seating for you. We will move you up to our new business class seating, brand new car, very comfortable. Then we will bring you to the dining car, and you can have a complimentary meal. It's on us, anything you want. Maybe we can even get a banana for your monkey."

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The conductor says "Ma'am I am terribly sorry. We go to great length to make sure all of our passengers are happy. Perhaps we can upgrade your seating for you. We will move you up to our new business class seating, brand new car, very comfortable. Then we will bring you to the dining car, and you can have a complimentary meal. It's on us, anything you want. Maybe we can even get a banana for your monkey."

That's an old Flip Wilson routine ---- but it's still funny!!

BTW, we can complain about the extra charges that airlines are coming up with but the reality is that their fares have not kept up with the increase in jet fuel costs and they are getting squeezed. Expect several companies to go belly-up or cut back on service this summer.

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That's an old Flip Wilson routine ---- but it's still funny!!

Yup, I saw it on the "Best of Carson" video. Priceless when you see Flip do it.

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Yep, MANY airlines have already announced that they are reducing their number of flights by 35-40%, so that the remaining flights will be jammed- 99% load or greater- they want to squeeze as many paying fares into each flight as possible (after having raised the fares) and no empty seats.

That means they are going to overbook like crazy, and there are going to be LOTS of people with reservations not getting on board. Lots of unhappy campers. Which will once again spur Congress on to do something, which is really none of their business in a capitalist system. Eventually an airline will offer "free bag checking" as an incentive, and we're back where we were, although I don't expect fares to drop until they figure out an airplane that fly on solar power or something. I don't think oil prices are ever going to come back down. If anything they might double or triple over the next couple of decades.

And yes there are going to be several "significant name" airlines going into Chapter whatever bankruptcy protection this summer. There were already two this spring, one of which (Aloha) cancelled all operations immediately.

As for bags, on my trip to Orlando last week, I took two bags to check in at Los Angeles when I left, and no problem- no signs of limits or any warning or anything (although I knew there is a 50-lb per bag weight limit or they charge you a $25 surcharge).

Okay, then I check in in Orlando for the return trip, and there are signs up saying only 1 bag check-in free, a second bag will cost. I thought that unfair, to change the rules when you're in the middle of your trip and nail you on the return when you can't do anything about it....

....but when I got to the front of the line they didn't charge me anything after all.

Then when I saw that announcement in the paper this week about a charge for ANY checked baggage, the article also explained that if you pay full fare coach (as opposed to a super saver kind of fare), or you're in business class or first class, there is no change- checked bags are still included in the ticket price.

So I thought back about my trip last week. Maybe the tickets were booked by my employer too late for super saver and by definition it then included free bag checking, so maybe that's why I didn't get charged on the return trip.

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I would love to see passenger trains enjoy a real revival in the US. The airlines treat people like cargo. I absolutely hate to fly today.

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I would love to see passenger trains enjoy a real revival in the US. The airlines treat people like cargo. I absolutely hate to fly today.

The train costs as much as a plane to go 235 miles from Boston to New York. (at least the Amtrak Acela does.)

How can they cost roughly the same? It seems the train should be cheaper - especially to Florida or California.

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