Michael Strickland's blog on all things travel: news, deals, destinations, dreams and more.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

No more free hot dog

"Customers understand the cost of doing business with these fuel prices," said USAirways spokeswoman Michelle Mohr, quoted in a TIME magazine article. "They don't expect a free hot dog at the ballpark."

So that's where we are. No more free hot dog. Never mind the fact that a typical ticket to a baseball game costs about 10 percent of the average air fare. I guess you don't get a free pillow and blanket at the ballpark either. Or a free soda or bottle of water. You can still pee for free at the ballpark (last time I went, anyway), but don't expect that luxury to remain free in flight forever.

The same USAirways spokeswoman also said the airline expects these new fees to bring in as much as half a billion (with a B) dollars, so you can consider these fees here to stay. Like Congress enjoying the revenue stream from a new tax, the airlines won't cut off this new cash flow without very strong motivation.

JetBlue used to be my favorite airline (now that term is an oxymoron), so I was disappointed to hear about them charging $7 for a pillow and blanket. But if you fly them anytime soon, here's a tip: there may be no free hot dog, but they'll give you as many snacks as you want. Don't settle for just one bag of Terra Blues or Animal Crackers. Eat a pillow-and-blanket's worth. Then you won't want a free hot dog.

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