The Announcement Airlines Don't Make Before You Fly (But Should)

The Announcement Airlines Don't Make Before You Fly (But Should)

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. At this time, we’d like to begin the social experiment we call our boarding process.

Many of you are preparing to rush to the gangway ahead of your scheduled zones with bags that are too large or too numerous, ready to compete for the free overhead bin space. Everyone abuses this now that most airlines charge for checked luggage. Please, note that United and American have now created “basic economy” tiers that even exclude free overhead space as well as reserved seating, which means the rest of us aren’t far behind. Who needs to travel with more than a toothbrush? Air travel is an exploitative wasteland, and we’d like to thank you for traveling with us today!

As a courtesy, we’d like to remind everyone that this nickel-and-diming began in 2008, when Goldman Sachs manipulated the price of gas futures, which spiked to a record $147 per barrel. That summer, American became the first airline to charge for checked luggage in an effort to offset rising oil costs, followed by its major competitors.

Gas prices are back around $60 per barrel and have dropped as low as $30 in recent years. But our corporate leadership would strap the family dog to the nose of a Boeing 787 before they’d lose the revenue generated by ancillary fees, which have almost single-handedly brought the airlines back to prosperity after the recession. This year, you folks have paid a record $57 billion to airlines — with baggage fees accounting for a record $4.2 billion last year (up 10% from 2015 and 900% from a decade ago, according to Thankfully, the Department of Transportation just killed Obama administration proposals that mandated more transparency regarding our service fees. 

Did we mention how grateful we are for your business?

At this time, we’d like to begin with our Kaleidoscope passengers. Our Kaleidoscope upgrade enables you to board ahead of the angry mob forming a human wall in front of this podium and to retain the illusion that we still live in a civilized society. If you take a look at your boarding pass and do not see a kaleidoscope on there, please wait; that means you’re poor. Kaleidoscope customers, a temple attendant will anoint your feet with oils as you board. …

Ladies and gentlemen, now we’d like to invite passengers who need a little extra help or a few more minutes to board, as well as those perfectly abled passengers who know we have neither the time nor the legal resources to challenge you. If you plan to feign special needs, now is when you start avoiding eye contact with the people around you. Remember: Some disabilities are invisible!

Now we’d like to welcome passengers who have purchased extra leg room upgrades to board. As a courtesy to ourselves, we’ve converted half of this plane into extra legroom seating. That means anyone who booked their seat less than a month before this flight will have to choose between a middle seat wedged between two human buffalos or an $80 upsell. This tier also includes those who have paid extra to sit in emergency exit rows. Even though you are technically performing enough of a job for us that we have to give you on-site training, we make you pay more to sit in these seats. In exchange for your labor, we will make sure your overstuffed travel set has a place somewhere. Enjoy almost extending your legs for the duration of the flight. … 

Now, we’d like to call up families traveling with small children, who do need extra time and should probably board sooner in the process. Parents, as you are the passengers most likely to exceed your allotted bin space –that light-up Mickey Mouse sombrero is going to take up a lot of room!– we had to allow people who paid us more money to get on before you. Don’t worry, though, you can retaliate later by asking them to move to middle seats in order to accommodate you and your small children, who–if they are sitting next to you–may be less likely to wail throughout the flight as their tiny eardrums are being pummeled by air pressure changes. They are the only innocent parties in this godless system. Let them scream for all of us. …

We will now complete general boarding for the seven of you too poor to purchase an upgrade and too honest — can you hear the pity in my voice? — to claim you need additional time. Please perform a football blocking drill to your seat, where you will find the overhead space full. No wait! Hosanna, there will be just enough room for your appropriately sized computer bag! Place it carefully above you and take your seat until another passenger boards late, and a flight attendant crams his bag on top of yours. At this point, if you’d like your screen in tact, you can remove your bag and write about this experience on the computer you must now keep in your lap for the duration of the flight, hunched over like the broken human you’ve become. If you Tweet us about how terrible this experience has been, please note that we will only respond to accounts with 2,000 followers or more. …

Thank you for flying with us today!

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