Saturday, September 18, 2010

#16 - I got a bone to pick with greedy airlines, dog gone it...

I’ve flown a great deal on personal trips on a variety of airlines, spanning virtually the entire alphabet from AirTran to US Airways, and am frequently accompanied by “Petunia”, my tiny, sweet, gregarious, nose-licking, 6-pound female Chihuahua. Petunia travels very well in her under-seat carrier, and provides amusing diversion to me and other stressed-out travelers in concourses and at gates awaiting our flights. Many times people will say, “Awh, she’s so cute. I like it when people bring their little dogs on planes.” I like people like that. To be sure, lots of people are busy and focused on their lives and personal stresses so seem to be agnostic about Petunia, as long as she doesn’t poop on the floor or run around the cabin, and she certainly doesn’t do either of those things. She does have manners, after all. Of course, one or two might get that look on their faces like they’ve smelled something, but I figure they’re the types of people who don’t cotton to pets, and since it’s not Petunia’s poop they smell, I just let it go. Besides, it makes me happy and her happy to travel together. So I figure that, net-net, carrying her along with me is a good thing.

But, it’s also a VERY expensive thing. Do you realize that it costs an average of over $100 in each direction, to and from, to carry a pet onto an airplane? That’s 200 bucks per trip. That’s frequently about as much as I pay for my ticket. And do you realize that in addition to that $200 cost, Petunia and her carrier count as one of my two “free” carry-on’s just like my PC and whatever other bag I might choose to wedge with a sledge hammer into the overhead compartment? Well, actually, I never wedge my bag into the overhead compartment with a sledge hammer – other people certainly seem to, but I don’t. I just felt compelled to make that point clear. But I do carry on Petunia in her regulation-sized RubberMaid carrier that fits nicely under the seat in front of me, where she rides quietly all snuggled up in her little wooly blanket accompanied by her favorite stuffed toy.

Now, let’s just do a little cost per pound comparison here. I weigh, well, roughly 150 pounds fully clothed, and that includes eating before we take off because there’s certainly not much to eat on flights these days. My ticket typically costs anywhere from $200-$400, before baggage costs of course. So that’s about $1.30 to $2.60 per pound for me. That’s roughly the cost of a pound of low-grade hamburger. Petunia, on the other hand, or paw as it were, weighs about 7 pounds, carrier, blanket, stuffed toy and poop included. Her “ticket” costs an average of $200 round-trip. That’s $28.57 per pound. Hmm… I cost a maximum of $2.60 per pound, occupy a full seat, can carry on one additional bag for free, might get a free blanket if I can find one, get a free bag of pretzels and a Coke, and Petunia costs $28.57 per pound, counts as a “free” carry on, provides her own blanket, doesn’t occupy a seat and certainly doesn’t get a free bag of pretzels or a Coke. A checked bag costs $15-$40 and can weigh up to 50 pounds. That’s between $1.25 and $3.33 per pound, so by that logic Petunia’s ticket equals the cost of 8.58 checked bags. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the vast difference between the size of Petunia's carrier with her sweet little face lookin' out of it, and a checked bag…

What’s wrong with this picture? Can you say “bilking by milking the emotions of pet-lovers?” I can. Greed, that’s all it is, GREED. And it ticks me off and I think it’s high-time time I say something about it. Shame on you greedy airlines, exploiting a sweet little nose-licking Chihuahua like that. Shame on you!

Now I may not lick this problem by complaining about it ‘cuz I’m only worth the cost of a pound of low-grade hamburger, but greedy airlines, I can assure you that Petunia won’t lick you either…

So there. Plthhhh.

1 comment:

  1. Hey's been a while since I read your blog but feel compelled here... I shipped Chili across the country to my best friend because she couldn't accompany us on our trip (6 month quaranteen - can't spell - in Austraila...coudln't stomach that) and it cost me almost $400 because she was "unaccompanied." I paid extra for them to take her out of the kennel and "walk" her on her stop over. Amazing. and I'm sure I cried the entire length of her flight. Anyway...I feel you pain. Absolute outrage :) Miss talking to you...hope all is good....Monica