There has been a great deal of whining about American Airlines’ decision to institute a $50 standby fee (essentially putting it on par with other airlines). Boo hoo. As I’ve mentioned before: Airfares are basically the same as they have been since 1981 – not adjusted for inflation, I mean they are actually the same. Except where they are way, way cheaper. Transcons are still $99 on sale, but now there are basically no restrictions. A 1-way fare from NYC to LAX used to be $1000 or so with no advance purchase. I can buy a 1-way ticket on that route for Tuesday and it’s $140.
Oil was $35/barrel in 1981 – half what it is now. Planes have not gotten cheaper. Guess what? Airlines have to make it up somewhere if they are going to charge you next to nothing to fly all over the place. There is absolutely no reason to whine about fees – flying is one of the world’s great bargains. An extra $20 isn’t going to change that.