Air travel is something we can all complain about, and, by yompin yiminy, I'm no exception, but, while the new mandatory fees are a drag, the optional fees I heard someone bitch about during my trip are okay with me.
For instance, I paid $25 to check a bag. Other trips, I might have gotten everything into a carry-on, but I've decided it's worth the fee to bring extra stuff and not have to horse it all around between planes.
Travel Tip: Get it all into a carry-on, then gate-check it at your first plane. It's free that way, and you avoid being That Guy trying to jam an over-stuffed roller into the overhead while everyone stands in the aisle waiting.
And I like the idea of paying extra for a seat with more legroom. It's optional, too, after all. Though we were joking on the plane that the seats have been redesigned as a safety feature: If your ass won't fit in the space between the arm rests, it won't fit through the exit hatch either.
Travel Tip #2: For those people who object to being behind someone who tilts their seat back three inches to take the weight off their spinal column, pick a seat behind the exit row. You won't get any more leg room, but you also don't pay the optional fee, and a lot of exit-row seats do not recline.
Speaking of jokes and airplanes and security, back in the 60s when the hijackings to Cuba were going on, my uncle had a GF who went on spring break in Florida. He sent her an Easter lily and, when she was coming home with it, a fellow in line behind her at the ticket counter made a joke about a bomb in the flower pot.
So the Miami-to-Toronto plane was a couple of hours late and everybody learned a lesson about telling jokes in airports.
Some months later, my uncle told this amusing story at a party, and someone nearby overheard him and turned out to be a pilot with that airline, who explained how much "if that plane isn't going to be there, then this plane has to be here instead" chaos that the jester had set into motion.
Probably a good thing for Mr. Funny Fellow that he only had to explain his sense of humor to the FBI and not the flight crews.
And here's another joke: On my last trip, United got me preferred status all the way. I got to be in the short line and I didn't have to take off my shoes or unsheath my laptop or nothin'.
On this trip, I got to Boston late because of traffic and had to beg my way to the front of a long, unmoving security line, where it turned out the TSA agent was very friendly and engaged each passenger in cheerful, unnecessary, line-clogging conversation.
And I still had to lose my shoes and belt, pull out my laptop, etc etc etc. The plane was still boarding, but it was a close enough call anyway, thanks.
On the way back, when I checked in at Denver two hours before my flight, American gave me preferred status and I sailed through security. I had applied for it when I got my ticket, but the check-in guy said they award it randomly.
So I was pre-screened and approved, but didn't get the elevated status both ways, because American has a policy of making you stand in the line sometimes anyway? Say what?
I suppose I could demand they come up with a sensible policy, but it would probably include an optional fee.
Meanwhile, here's what TSA accomplished in 2013. It won't make you feel any better about paying more, but you may be amused by the comments at the end.
By the numbers, sort of
It's amusing nearly every day and excellent often, which is to say, worth following.
This is free
The National Cartoonist Society has a new magazine that you can download for free. They're giving out copies at their booth at ComicCon, but there won't, apparently, be a printed version beyond that.
It's got some stuff I already knew, but also some good exclusive features, and it's certainly worth what they charge you. They don't say how often it will come out, but, again, it's free, so however many issues come out a year, multiply that by zero and that's your cost.
Also worth it
I haven't actually seen the Bill Watterson exhibit at the Billy Ireland, but all I've heard has been "wow," so I went ahead and preordered the catalog. I would be very surprised if it were not worth the money, which isn't a whole lot.
Buy me this
I meant buying it and giving it to me would be a good cause.
'Cause I'd be your best friend. (There are two other strips up there if this one seems a bit rich for your blood.)
Don't buy me these
I don't know what they charge for what looks to me like some very upscale bowling shoes because you have to create an account and sign in to see the prices. I guess if you think ugly-ass shoes are a good idea, you might also thinking signing in with the folks who sell them would also be a good idea.
Mostly, I'm insulted that the ad keeps popping up in my feed. It's okay that someone thinks I have money to waste, but the "dressing like a clown" thing, yeah, not so flattering.
Now here's your moment of zen
(He will bring you orchids for your lady, but please don't joke about the flower pot.)