Okay, I was never good at math, but 60 pounds equals 60 pounds. Right? If you have 60 pounds in one bag, and then take 15 pounds out and put it in another bag and both of those bags are going on a plane you are still taking 60 pounds of your precious belongings onto a plane... right?
Please don't tune me out because I sound like some SAT question you may have skipped on the test. Okay, I skipped on the test. I'm just checking my facts here because I'm just a traveling layman, not a aerospace scientist, or a conglomerate corporation whose primary focus it is to calculate numbers such as these: 60=60. Which is maybe why this corporation has filed for bankruptcy.
Welcome to American Airlines.
As I scrambled at the American counter to remove a sweater, two books, three magazines, a package of Starbucks coffee, my toiletries (but not the hair pomade) and my make up bag, my jewelry, and a pair of shoes and fit them in my purse and carry on, the questioned dawned on me... all the items are all going on the plane. What freaking difference does it make?
Yes, my bag is heavy. I've been away for over a month plus I've accumulated several books, and there's Christmas... but it's all going on the plane. 60 pounds is 60 pounds.
Well, not according to American Airlines. 60 pounds checked is an extra 100 dollars bag fee. So actually 60 equals 100! Me carrying odd packages slung over my shoulder like a Sherpa, a stack of books like a college grad at finals, clothing tied around my waist like a hipster bag lady -- through the terminal, in and out of the bins at security and on and off the plane? Only 25 dollars. So 45 equals 25. And sore shoulders. Are you still with me?
When I boarded everyone was told no coats in the overhead bin. No shopping bags in the overhead bin. Only wheelies in the overhead bin. So, basically, only heavy suitcases in the overhead bin? 60 pounds is 60 pounds. I stuffed everything around me and below me like an economy class scarecrow, unable to move, unable to tweet about it because American didn't even have Wi-Fi on the flight. I'm lucky I got a light over my seat. I wasn't so lucky when I asked for some sugar for my tea.
The surly, bitchy, caustic flightie rolled her eyes at me and tossed a pack of sugar my way. Just like something I would have done to her, except I don't get paid to be pleasant and helpful because I know better than to work in a job where I would be nasty to people strapped into confined spaces who need me (you're welcome, humans). She was so testy, I was tempted to turn on my phone and play a rousing game of Words With Friends. Alec, are you free?
I have to admit I am spoiled. I'd just traveled overseas via Virgin, with the choice of over 40 movies at my fingertips, seats that recline like a lounger and free bags checked. Yes I said free. That Branson is a goddamned Communist or something!
Plus the food. Oh my good the food. All served with a smile. A pre-drink snack. Free wine. Then a post-drink snack. Then dinner (mine consisted of Christmas dinner with all the trimmings). Then another round of wine, mulled wine, spiked cider or tea. Then they came around with ice cream. Then they brought around tea and chocolate mousse. And then came teatime with cakes, scones and clotted cream, chocolates and mince pies. And then we had tea. That's 60 extra pounds right there.
Plus they give you little goodie bags with toothbrushes and socks and a sleep mask and a pen. They give it to you. No questions asked about shoplifting. They don't bill you for it later. Wow. Virgin really knows how to treat a gal on a date. Their name is deceiving because by the end of the trip I was willing to go as far as they wanted.
And it was all included with your economy ticketed flight. None of this swipe your credit card to pay seven dollars for a stack of Pringles bullshit. Plus they didn't ask us to pay eight dollars for our very own pillow and blanket that we can "take with us" either. Please. Who are you trying to kid? Unless we are deplaning and marching directly to our closest Occupy campsite, your thin blankets and flimsy pillows with dental cape covers are not needed for purchase, thanks.
Oh! And two dollars for head phones? To see Real Steel?
Screw you, American. You should be paying us as a focus group to sit through that.
Follow Ali MacLean on Twitter: www.twitter.com/aliontheair