It seems the current austerity drive vis-à-vis air travel is not only limited to deciding who gets to snooze in the ‘cattle’ or ‘castle’ class; its effect seems to be slowly creeping into the luggage hold as well. If the bug spreads, very soon, only the well-heeled will be able to carry that extra packet of Haldiram’s savouries or Hawkins pressure cookers for desi clansmen on the East Coast. American Airlines, one of the US’s biggest carriers, has finally brought the concept of paying for checked-in baggage to Indian shores. After the first ‘free’ checked-in piece of luggage, the airline will now charge $50 for the second bag and $150 for the third one. So, pack in those in-flight free beers if you will, but do be careful about how much you pack in that checked-in case.
As the frills come off one by one, an entire generation of flyers is being forced to deal with the harassed airlines’ new au naturel avatar, what with budget carriers charging for everything from half a soggy cookie to a sip of water. Now, in addition to rules that govern the shapes and sizes of our scruffy VIPs or ritzy Vuittons, we’re being forced to shell out a ransom for their contents.
Given that airlines are fed up with high fuel costs and exorbitant parking charges, one wonders if the dimensionally-enhanced might soon be charged for parking that posterior if the numbers on the weighing scale don’t agree with company policy. If we agree with the principle that we can’t make heavy weather out of airline policy, we must insist that it works both ways. So, perhaps it’s time for the vertically and horizontally well-proportioned to start demanding discounts of their own.