I love to travel. Let me rephrase that. I love being in new places—not necessarily getting to them. We’ve found new ways to add costs to things that shouldn’t be charged for in the first place. Take airline seats. Once they were wide and cushy and fully reclined. Now you have to squeeze into them like a gymnast. Every airline provided three-course meals, including lemon- scented, warmed, hand towels afterwards. No more.
Recently, I purchased a ‘great deal’ on a roundtrip, 12-hour flight to Sydney. Then the add-ons trickled in. Checking one bag would be an extra $50. My original seat choice showed the majority were taken, so I was forced to take a middle seat towards the back. However, a few days before my flight, I was ‘magically’ offered 50, new seat choices up front, for only $150 extra. They had both aisles and windows and extra, leg room. What luck!!
Visiting family recently, I chose an Air B&B near my favorite hotel, because it was half the price. Well, it started that way. The tiny room was cute, though part of the house, so I could hear everything. The couple that rented the room next to mine clearly had no clue that their bed was mere inches from my head. There was also no window or view. On the final bill, there was an extra $100 charge for cleaning, $49 for taxes and a $75 service fee. Guess what? It was MORE expensive than my favorite hotel, minus the ocean view, space and privacy!
Dare I tell you about my hotel room in Honolulu last night? It was located smack between the ice machine and the elevator. When I opened the door, I discovered the mattress wasn’t flat but actually listed to one side. It also faced a major construction site. When I asked to move to another room, the woman at the front desk said with a completely, straight face, “You paid for a STANDARD room. If you want a DELUXE room, that is another $100 a night.” “Let me get this straight, I said, “your STANDARD room comes with a lopsided mattress, is noisy and has no view?” She had no comeback.
I walked outside and there were homeless people everywhere. I can’t help but wonder if all these ‘extras’ our economy is charging are keeping so many from having the bare essentials. What’s next, a surtax on sand?