Mind the Landing Gear, Children

by Evan Allgood

Here’s the thing: in order for fees to work, there needs be something worth paying to avoid. That necessitates, at some level, a strategy that can be described as “calculated misery.” Basic service, without fees, must be sufficiently degraded in order to make people want to pay to escape it. And that’s where the suffering begins. 

The New Yorker

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THE SKIES — In light of its recent merger, JetBlUnited/ConAmeriVirgin is thrilled to unveil our sound-breaking new economy seating plan, which affords travelers more figurative flexibility than ever. Save the highly exclusive A-1 Platinum Single Malt cabin (whose spaciousness and amenities are as tightly guarded as the goings-on of the Skull and Bones: join today or die of curiosity!), the new cabin arrangement is as follows.

Priority Upper Middle Class Gold Plus

For travelers under 5’9 who can’t resist spoiling themselves.

Clothes on your back fly free!

But that’s not all. For no charge, a flight attendant will wipe the condensation from a soda can onto your hand—which hand you can then lift to your lips for a small surcharge. Or, savor a complimentary three-ounce cup of drip coffee, piping hot and locally sourced from the plane’s fuel dregs. (Price does not include fuel tax.)

Can’t drink petrol on an empty stomach? For a wee fee, toss back some (2) unsalted peanuts organically harvested from the floor of an airport Five Guys, swept into a large paper bag, and served to human beings. Departure into Flavor Town: on time! ETA: soon after the nuts are placed in your hand!

Nuts in hand, kick back (note: seats do not recline) and enjoy some of our Razzie Award-winning in-flight programming. With a four-inch flat-screen just centimeters from your face, mandatory earphone purchases for all passengers, and no Mute option, there’s no escape from the entertainment.

Gasping for breath? Don’t reach for that oxygen mask ($10)—you’ve just been GUT-BUSTED by the Air Marshals of Comedy: Dane Cook, Ralphie May, Carlos Mencia, and Jeff Dunham. We’ve inked the Air Marshals to an obscenely lucrative lifetime deal funded entirely by baggage and convenience fees. Buckle up; they’ll be splitting sides and redefining “comedy” for decades.

How about legroom?


Lower Middle Class CarGo Silver Saver

For travelers under 5’5 who wonder what it’d be like to fly blind inside a refrigerator.

Tired of JetBlUnited/ConAmeriVirgin losing your bags every time you travel, even on road trips somehow? Cling to your possessions for dear life and save a single buck when you crouch comfortably in what is frankly the cargo bay of the airplane, practically hugging the landing gear. Arrive in one piece and you’ll want to kiss it—hey, get a room you two!

Avoid the harsh lighting, incessant temperature control, and stuffy safety regulations of the plane proper. The cargo hold is romantically pitched black and cozier than a Manhattan studio, but spared the eyesore of a fire escape or emergency exit of any kind. (Note: a limited number of CarGo flotation devices are available for purchase.)

Due to a non-limitless supply of oxygen, some lucky Silver Savers will experience hypoxia, a mildly deadly condition that heralds its onset via feelings of euphoria. Drift into a blissful sleep and hopefully awaken in a strange new land, like Phoenix. It’s as if you’re a swashbuckling outlaw, stowing away on an icy ship with crazy air pressure that makes your head feel like it’s going to explode… with excitement.

You won’t know up from down on account of the disorientation and darkness!

This is how your pets fly!

Thrifty SkyRiders Steel Double-Minus

For thrill-seeking travelers with phenomenal hand strength.

Why travel like your own pets when you can travel like A-1 Platinum Single Malt flyer Mitt Romney’s?

Here is how Thrifty SkyRiders works: you sign a waiver. We loan you a football helmet ($100) and sticky gloves ($50) like the kind worn by NFL receivers and anxious cat burglars. A priest gives the last rites. Then we bungee you to the plane-roof and hope for the best.

Legroom for days! Unfettered access to condensation! A swift exit in the unlikely event of a water landing! This is air travel at its freest (figuratively speaking) and most transcendent—not a flight, but simply flight.

Book your flight today.

(Note: there is a small surcharge for Priority Wing Gripping.)



Evan Allgood is a writer from Alexandria, Virginia. His humor and criticism have appeared in McSweeney’s, Paste, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Toast, and The Billfold. His plays have been produced all over the country.


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