May 26, 2008

The Angry Golfer

Ain't travel grand? Not for the author, who has had it with the airlines

My joy could not be contained when I heard one major airline was going to impose a $15 incompetence fee on all checked baggage. What a fabulous idea by an industry just teeming with them—now I get to brawl with some mother of three for the empty quarter of the overhead compartment, a match that begins on the 10th hole with me eight down.

Seriously, I do have a few questions. If my favorite carrier hits me with a charge to transport my golf bag to the British Open, then "misplaces" it, do I get to bill them $25 for being awful at what they do? May I add $3.50 for the flight attendant who makes 10 bucks an hour, got three hours of sleep and boarded the airplane with nothing but a pocketbook and an attitude? How about $1 for every minute I have to wait on a runway because some air-traffic controller is on the phone arguing with his wife?

Sorry, but I'm having too much fun. The thing about the airlines is that they're all 29 over par, and they really don't care, because any operation that loses $60 billion an hour looks at things like courtesy and service as another bag of peanuts—just totally unimportant. Unfortunately, they don't play a lot of PGA Tour events in southern Connecticut. And I can't quite afford John Madden's bus.

So off I go, to Orlando one week, Atlanta the next, and that cross-country excursion to San Diego for the U.S. Open ought to be a real blast. It's not that I suffer from a fear of flying, but a fear of the people who fly. Please, Mr. Pilot, sir, just get me there. And when you tell me to sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight, I'll do my best to appreciate your vivacious sense of humor.