Frightened by Allegiant – Oh, and Happy Halloween

It’s October 31st, do you know what day it is?  That’s right, the last day for me to get my blog quota in for the month.  Thankfully I had a long month or just might have missed it.  As a strange coincidence, there happens to be another event going on today so in that spirit Happy Halloween everyone.  I have to make this post short today due to a big decision that is pending regarding whether I want to take the effort to carve a new pumpkin this year, but first things first.

The topic today is actually a result of a recent trip to our local Peoria Airport to purchase some tickets to escape to our favorite warm, bright, gaudy and decadent place.  Yep, we’re heading back to Vegas for our fall trip.  To be more accurate, we are heading back to Vegas and then heading up to Zion National Park from there for a few days.  If there is one part of this that annoys me more than anything is the nickel and diming we have to through these days to actually get flight tickets.  First off, Allegiant (our local direct flight to Vegas carrier) charges you an additional 30 dollar per person to book online.  Can you believe that?  When did ordering stuff on the Internet become more pricey to a company than brick and mortar operations.  You would think the reduction in ticket order staff and the improved accuracy delivered by automated processing would drive incentives to use online options as opposed to bottling up their ticket counters.  We are 15 or so minutes from the airport so last Thursday we trekked out there to get our tickets.  Per their website, they do ticket sales for one hour after the flight leaves.  They had a flight going out at 7:55 so we got there ahead of that.  There were people checking in so we hung out to give them a chance to clear.  While sitting there, Linda noticed the flight had been delayed until 10pm.  Clearly waiting around  that long was not worth the $60 of savings, but we decided to see what they would do once everyone was checked through.  About 10  minutes later, the line was cleared (this included the now common scene “your carry on is too large and needs to be checked through for a one way $35 charge”).  We walked up to the counter and asked if we could purchase tickets.  The ticket lady mentioned they usually only sell tickets after the boarding, but quickly followed up that the plane was delayed anyway so agreed to process our order.  Finally, service with the customer or may be viewing it as a fish nibbling on the hook.

Now the price jab cycle started.  I don’t recall how the clerk initiated the conversation on checked luggage, but she expected us to say we didn’t need that charge.  Linda replied we don’t have a choice which was quickly countered by “you can take carry ons”.  This will not work because our carry on items will need to cover all of the photography equipment for the national park shoots.  Chalk up another $50 each round trip.  Note, this is $20 each cheaper than if you pay to check baggage the day of.  Then there are the seat assignment charges if you want to pick your spots.  For that pleasure it is 12 or so dollars per seat per way and if you want a good seat (read as exit row) you have to pay a couple dollars more.  About this time I’m feeling like a pin cushion.  We ended up having to go with standard reservations on the way out in order to get the 2 seat side, but were able to get the exits coming back.  The clerk completed the transaction and printed out the papers for us to sign.  The ever diligent Linda noticed our seat assignments didn’t come out on the papers.  Turns out the clerk screwed that up so we went back through that process.  This time we scored.  The software glitched (let’s hope it isn’t the same system controlling the flight controls) and it didn’t charge us for one of the expensive seat reservations on the way back.  It still showed we had reserved it and it printed out on the sheets so we’ll see how this turns out on travel day.  At that point I start scanning down the list of charges, curious as to the damage that had been inflicted.  It is at that moment my mouth dropped open.  One of the charges was for 9/11 Security.  I immediately asked Linda what that was for.  She didn’t know and really wasn’t eager to start an interrogation of the clerk – especially at an airport.  Probably a little too loud I asked why I was getting charged, “I didn’t do anything bad to cause 9/11”  At that point I think my loving wife shooed me out of the terminal.  This charge bugged the crap out of me aaaaalllll the way home.  I still have not discovered the purpose for this $10 charge.  As far as I can tell, it should be charged to TSA for their complete failure in keeping my travel experience safe and non-eventful.  In fact, due to their incompetence, they should be paying me $10 for completely ruining air-travel for the masses.  These days I feel like I’m putting people out for having the audacity to fly to my destinations.  My friend Skidmarks recently sent me a few articles on how I should expect a firm hand (literally) if I request a manual scan instead of going through the full body x-ray porn scanner.  At this point, if I have to pay $10 of my own money to protect myself while traveling… they can earn the money by having to staff someone for a pat down.  I guess the good part of all of this is for 8 hours of inconvenience I get to be in Vegas!

Happy Ghouling everyone – stay safe and be sure to give rocks to anyone with the nerve to dress up like a clown.  (oh, and this makes the 6th for the month – yeah!)

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