When you show up at the airport these days, just getting on the plane is an adventure. It reminds me of travel in parts of the third world where you need a pocket full of bribe money, extra time to get anywhere, the mental fortitude to patiently handle whatever you encounter - and a sense of humor.
Remember when air travel was fun?
First they ding you for your checked luggage. Ok, if we all travel lighter, the airplanes use less fuel. It also gives the marketing departments at airlines like Southwest endless advantage over the other carriers: they just advertise NOT doing what the other airlines are doing. Now Southwest advertises, “Your 1st and 2nd checked bags are free only with Southwest Airlines!”
More recently, Spirit Airlines unveiled a plan to charge for carry-on bags. Anything that goes in the overhead bin will cost passengers $45, almost double the cost of a checked bag. Some items will be exempt from the rule including “umbrellas, coats, cameras, car seats, strollers, medicine, reading material and food for immediate consumption. “ I can just see the new travel luggage that looks like a Burger King go-bag but is actually a high-quality roller bag, and jackets with pocket capacity for a 2-day trip.
Now Ryanair, a low-cost European carrier is taking the next step: charging passengers to use the toilet! And they are trying to get aviation authorities to allow them to redesign the cabin with only one toilet to make room for more seats. If passed, the new ratio will be 189 seats for one toilet! In an article in Business Week, the Ryanair CEO, Michael O’Leary rationalizes: "The purpose of charging for the toilets is to change peoples' behaviour," he said. The company sees profit in the theory that by giving people incentive to use airport toilets before they depart, it would be able to remove two out of the three toilets on each plane, making space for six additional seats. Seats they can sell.
Who are they kidding? Changing people's bodily functions? Everyone I know already tries to avoid using the cramped cabin toilets by using the airport toilets just before boarding. I don't know of anybody who waits to get ON the plane to use the toilet. I can just see Southwest Airline’s next slogan: “Use the toilet for free!”
Do you think this family is waiting until they board to use the toilet?
The nice thing for us at CMH is that these trends in the air travel industry make our all-inclusive approach and helicopter travel seem that much more refreshing. Just show up for a CMH Summer Adventure and we’ll take care of the rest. Sure, we charge additional for massages and alcohol, but everything else is part of our award-winning adventure travel package. We’re not about to start charging for the spa, nor do we charge rental fees for our fleet of comfortable hiking boots and warm jackets. We don’t charge for mountaineering or via ferrata equipment use during our high-flying summer adventures – or for using the toilet.
Photos by Topher Donahue