“Knife and Fork Sir, certainly that will be $2”

“Knife and Fork Sir, certainly that will be $2”
I was thinking about when we were in England recently where the eco conscious people seemed to have developed a hatred of plastic bags. You now have to purchase your plastic bag when you go to any shop . Not a bad idea in itself and it does bring to mind the waste and pollution caused by these things although one wonders if the 1p it costs you for each bag really goes to recycling and makes a real difference or if it gets “lost in Translation” somewhere.

The reason I am thinking about “extras” is that I am arranging a holiday and all the airlines seem to have adopted a policy of charging you for everything individually and I was wondering when it will get out of hand. You book your seat then baggage, taxes, Airport charges, carbon emission offset and you will also be charged if you want to pick a specific seat. One of my daughters recently booked a flight for 3 adults and 3 children (15, 11, and 10) and had to pay extra for them to sit together.

Surely the booking process where someone books 6 seats in the same name one the same plane at the same time would place them together especially if some of them are minors. Not so, the system must have been reprogrammed to specifically isolate people.  Not sure this is the best idea, do the airlines not have a policy of children must be accompanied? And if so how do the balance this with the process of scattering people around the cabin.

It might be interesting to experiment (especially if the kids are unruly or boisterous) and just let the airline plonk them where ever they will and see how long it takes the other passengers and crew to reorganize them back into a manageable group.

I know it’s a business and there to make a profit but these things swiftly get out of hand. The low cost carriers have been doing this for a while, a free for all with seats not being allocated, luggage restrictions which drive you to only taking your toothbrush (but no toothpaste unless <5oz (I had one taken off my by the Homeland Security team once)). You pay for drinks and food on many airlines these days and they are “considering” charging you to go to the toilet which is where it starts getting out of hand

So perhaps other firms will adopt the same approach, maybe your favorite restaurant will charge you to sit with your significant other or maybe you could treat like speed dating and allow them to place you where they want. Maybe the petrol station will charge more for using pumps nearer the kiosk.  Banks could have a special “Fast track” queue where you pay extra to get served faster (they may already do this I don’t go into many banks). Maybe the barber could charge you by the inch for your haircut. I could go on but I think you get my drift.

So the thin end of the wedge is firmly in place and will be hammered home by successive missives  from people who think that the most efficient way to run a business it to just charge the customer successively for their failure to manage their costs and productivity. Well the customer (me and you) always have the option to go somewhere else which we will do when we see that “what you see is what you pay” sign. I am trying right now to book a flight to the US which is showing at $500 but will cost me $1,200 to actually book now that is quite a difference.

As for the Knife and Fork reference it comes from the Jeremy Clarkson column where he is berating the car industry for charging for “Extras” like wheels and is asking what next will you visit your local eatery and order the steak with jacket potato and have to pay for the plate and knife and fork individually and what if you don’t will they just drop them on the table and let you use your fingers. Now it would be good to see the reaction of the other people as well as the staff.