Thursday, December 8, 2016


I read that United Airlines (UAL) has figured out yet another way to squeeze our wallets arid, not just dry. 

We fly for a variety of reasons but one thing that we are used to is that a Coach ticket qualifies us to use the space under the seat in front of us and the bin above us as part of the ticket cost.

Ah-hah!  Not so fast - UAL now offers what they call "Basic Coach" which allows you to store smallish items under the seat in front of you, but don't touch the overhead bins!  They are not for you; don't even think of it - they are for the Coach passengers (yes, we're still in Coach) that paid "a little more" for their seat AND exclusive use of the overhead bins. 

The Rio mayor or whatever the title has proposed a new tax for inbound tourists.  The tax goes into a pool (and without a doubt some politicians pockets) to be used to reimburse those hapless souls who get mugged.  This is not sitting well with the people who live there and who are the most frequently robbed/mugged.  The hell with Rio in either case.  Remember the part about the Olympic swimming contestants that had to swim with  dead bodies in the sea? 

By now curious, I wanted to see what American's various fees were about.  By accident, I clicked on the fares for unaccompanied  children and animals.

Unaccompanied kid - $150 - Coach, Bidness or 1st - no bennies there.
Service animals - 0 zero - all classes
Carry-on pet (such as Paris Hilton and a Chihuahua in her purse) - $125
Checked pet (beyond cruelty) - $200 except on flights from the US to Brazil which is $150 (how sinister is that?)  I'm thinking you could save some $$$ if you can disguise your kid as a service animal ... while they're still small, of course.  No one is going to believe an 18 year old is a somewhat misshapen yak.

Feeling thirsty above the clouds - American will happily sell you a beer ($7) a glass of wine or a make-it-yourself cocktail ($8) and/or a glass of bubbly ($9)  It's actually cheaper to drink on a plane! On the ground, locally, a dirty gin martini is $10 and a split of (usually inferior champagne) is $12. 

Just won a serious money lotto?  Push out the boat with a RT flight on Etihad Airlines for $32,000 and exclusive use of The Residence which has a living room, bedroom and en suite bath.   Before you even are ushered to those quarters with much pomp, circumstance and a private butler, you will have been picked up at your hotel or home by a chauffeured limo (the one pictured was white and appeared to be about as long as a boxcar - big enough to let all of your relatives have a free ride to the airport to wave you off) ) and then you are escorted to a private entrance to the airport.  Keep an eye out for terrorists who may have found out about this "private" entrance- what bigger coup than a major VIP?  Even if you aren't - guilt by association ...You can hardly stumble along shouting, "I won the lottery, okay?  Don't shoot!"

For $32,000 I think you could be more generous and hire a 6-passenger private jet.  Maybe you'd have to ride the John Deere tractor to the airport; maybe you'd have to bring PBJ sandwiches and a couple of six-packs, but six of you would get to go - not just one very selfish couple.   And you'd get all of the baggage bins on the whole plane! 

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