Since the dawn of history man has dreamed of flying, almost as often as man has dreamed of finding himself on his high school stage in his underwear.

Just The Facts

  1. Airlines began carrying passengers for hire in the early 1900's. Which is good, since much earlier and they would have had to do so without airplanes.
  2. Ticket prices are determined by a complex formula which uses factors such as the length of the flight, demand for the flight, available seats, and most importantly, a random number generator.
  3. Air travel profit margins are slim, leading airlines to begin charging for services that used to be included in the fare. ("Hey, can we make them pay to get their bags back?")

Cracked on Air Travel

In the early, heady days of the airlines, air travel was a luxury and was treated as such. Male passengers wore suits and ladies wore dresses (and there was surprisingly little of the opposite). Passengers were treated like royalty and waited on hand-and-foot by stewardesses who looked like Betty Boop or Aunt Fritzi, which was considered hot in those days.

They would also have sex with you. (citation needed)

As the industry was deregulated, competition increased and air travel became affordable to the masses. Consequently, people now associate "luxury" with commercial air travel as much as they still use the word "stewardess." Passengers are packed into too-narrow seats like so many small fish packed into a can of small fish.

Can of Sardines
We avoid cliches like the plague.

Passengers now have to contend with security lines, delays, packed waiting areas, and fellow travelers who look like the cast of Hee-Haw just finished setting a world record for "days without bathing." As a result, modern travel by airline has become less like a trip on the QE II and more like a ride on cross-town Route #2.

Loaded city bus
And more likely to result in contracting an airborne disease.

While cheap fares have arguably been a good thing for the general public, the airlines themselves are struggling with trying to turn a profit while dealing with a shaky economy, high fuel costs, demands from various employee unions, and increased competition. As a result, many airlines have begun charging fees for extras that used to not be extra.

Airline cockpit
Flight crews are no longer included in the cost of your ticket.

How to Tell If Your Airline May Be Overcharging You

1. The ticket agent greets you with, "Hello, Sucker!"

2. There is a tollbooth on the jetway leading to the plane.

3. You find airline-sponsored loan sharks roaming the aisle in Economy.

4. You have to pay an extra fee not to sit next to this guy:

Possible Future Fees

Don't think that the airlines have stopped working on new ways to milk more money out of you. Just when you get used to paying $60 for your luggage to travel with you and $5 to use the bathroom, one or more of these may come along:

Destination fee: Your ticket got you on the plane. Now pay to get off. Hey, we got you to the right city.

Pregnant women: Pro-choicers and all their "fetus" talk be damned - you're trying to smuggle an extra human on board without paying? I don't think so.

Seats: The ticket gets you in the door. You want a place to sit for this seven-hour flight? Cough up the $$$, bub.

Fuel fees: Your fare guarantees you a place on the plane. Actually having the plane go somewhere is extra.

Air: We don't have to pressurize the cabin, you know.