The Best of Andy Rooney

If the major airlines don't stop nickel-and-diming the public with all sorts of new fees and fare increases potential passengers may consider using other modes of transportation. Air travel has become quite an unpleasant experience for a number of reasons. I'm not going to mention any names of airlines; they know who they are.

It's almost impossible for the average person to figure out how much they'll actually have to pay before boarding a plane. It's not until we get to the airport and start checking in that we realize it might cost an extra $100 to fly somewhere if we check our bags. There are still airlines that allow you to check the first bag for free, but additional bags cost $25 to $35 each. And God help you if the bag you check is overweight; then the airlines charge you from $50 to $150.

There's an airline that charges you for carry-on bags that don't fit under the seat in front of you. I remember reading that that airline thinks charging this fee will help in the boarding process and allow the plane to have an on-time departure. Who are they kidding? My suggestion to anyone who flies is to pack light.

If you want to eat something on a plane, most airlines now charge you for a snack or a meal. Some airlines do still hand out a bag of peanuts or pretzels for free.

Airfares have been raised several times already this addition to all the extra fees you may have to pay for certain seats, snacks and entertainment. If you travel with your dog, some airlines charge you an extra $150. The airline should just give your pooch the seat next to you if you have to pay $150 more!

Do you remember pay toilets? If the airlines have their way, someday we'll have to insert four quarters to use a lavatory on plane. When is this madness going to end? I think the airlines should just raise fares again and stop adding new fees.

I had to fly somewhere recently and I was interested in exchanging my middle seat for an aisle seat. I was told by the person who checked me in that if I wanted an exit row seat, a certain aisle seat, or a bulkhead seat, it would cost an additional $30. Those seats are now considered in "preferred" locations on a plane and are more desirable, so they carry an extra fee. I think that's outrageous.

I have some advice for the airlines: Just start with the base price of a flight -- like what appears on a new car sticker -- and then offer various options, or flight packages. For example, if your fare is $250 or more, you can purchase the tourist-class package, which includes two checked bags under 30 pounds, a seat of your choice anywhere in coach, two trips to the bathroom, two bottles of water, a pillow, a small sandwich with a bag of peanuts, and a copy of the New York Times.

Air-conditioning and seat belts are, of course, always provided to each passenger free of charge!

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