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How can anyone be excited about air travel anymore?

I haven’t flown in ages, partly because I absolutely detest the cattle prodding TSA procedures I have to endure at check ins and…I live on Amelia Island, which greatly eliminates the annual desire for leisure travel. It is fair to say however that in my younger years I traveled 90% of the world to get it kind of out of my system.

I traveled an awful lot when flying was mostly a pleasure of fixed price travel packages and not today’s a la Carte price gouging that some airlines seem to have taken a liking to.
So I was ready to spit fury all over Spirit Air’s latest fee, which charges passengers $2 per flight for Department of Transportation regulations Unintended Consequences. Yep, you read that right. $4 round trip to offset the cost of a series of new Department of Transportation passenger protection regulations, introduced a couple of weeks ago. The fee is called DOTUC fee (Department of Transportation Unintended Consequences), intended to cover costs associated with the DOT’s new regulations. The $2 fee went into effect on Tuesday, January 31.

One of the DOT’s recently enacted rules gives flyers the option to change or cancel a reservation within 24 hours of booking; it’s this law in particular that’s given Spirit cause to charge extra. The airline’s reasoning? By reserving seats for customers who have yet to commit, Spirit will lose inventory and, consequently, money.

My initial reaction was that Spirit is using rules created to protect flyers, as an excuse to charge them more. Ready to set my keyboard on sharp and fire off some inflammatory comments about this practice, my eyes caught Spirit President and CEO Ben Baldanza’s curious explanation: “People love the idea of not having to commit to a reservation, but this regulation, like most, imposes costs on consumers. Wouldn’t we all like to eat all we want and not get fat? Regulators like to try to sell the idea of this rule, but have ignored the cost impact to consumers. You simply can’t eat all you want without consequences.” Hmmm?!

Before my feet started tingling and my blood pressure rising I heard my wise mother’s advice: “You have to think further than the length of your nose,” one of her favorite teachings when my brothers and I grew up. And so my nose told me that Baldanza was aiming at something beyond the mundane fact of another price hike.

By saying ” this regulation, like most, imposes cost” he was definitely pointing at something much more ominous that an artfully construed metaphor of fat people.
Truth be known, Baldanza, just as many other company execs, was overtly exposing the fact that they are tired of all the government meddling and mingling with more rules and regulations and ridiculous laws appearing daily, constantly interfering with normal market mechanisms.

Adding a $2 fee to a ticket is not really going to bankrupt anyone, but it should send a message to at least the flying population of this country, that if government is not reduced soon, we’re looking at a much more unbearable cost of living picture. Spirit for example was hit with a $50,000 penalty last year for advertising violations after posting a $9 fare on Twitter, which then required users to click to two websites to figure out the additional taxes and charges. As a matter of fact, in 2011, airlines and travel agencies admitted violating price-advertising rules in more than 20 cases and agreed to fines totaling more than $1 million. The amount is hardly worth mentioning when spread out over almost 200 million domestic flight transactions in 2011; about half a penny per transaction. But as it’s the cost of doing business, we John Public, collectively will pay. Collectivity is a form of Communism. Even though I do not have children, I have paid fees and taxes to support the public school system all my life.  It’s the nature of the beast seeking an antidote for government interference and meddling.

Airport and Travel Security

More than 10 years after the ugliness of 911, most people have been fully trained to accept government rule causing any type of inconvenience, discomfort and loss of freedom … and pay for that, while  willfully neglecting the statistical facts that:

• You are 13 times more likely to die in a railway accident than from a terrorist attack
• You are 12,571 times more likely to die from cancer than from a terrorist attack
• You are six times more likely to die from hot weather than from a terrorist attack
• You are eight times more likely to die from accidental electrocution than from a terrorist attack
• You are 11,000 times more likely to die in an airplane accident than from a terrorist plot involving an airplane
• You are 87 times more likely to drown than die in a terrorist attack
• You are 404 times more likely to die in a fall than from a terrorist attack
• You are 17,600 times more likely to die from heart disease than from a terrorist attack
• You are 1048 times more likely to die from a car accident than from a terrorist attack
• You are 12 times more likely to die from accidental suffocation in bed than from a terrorist attack
• You are nine times more likely to choke to death on your own vomit than die in a terrorist attack
You are eight times more likely to be killed by a police officer than by a terrorist

These are the numbers…and the numbers don’t lie. Politicians do.