I flew out to LA today to file for my daughter's passport. While I was checking in at the e-ticket kiosk, I was presented with a choice:
"Would you like priority boarding?"
The machine offered me a chance to board early, and listed "first access to the overhead bins" as a benefit.
For only $19.00.
Here I am, trying to check in, and if I slip and hit "Yes" instead of "No" I get charged an extra $19. I don't know about you, but when I am trying to convince a machine to let me on the plane at 6:00 AM, I tend to just hit the "Yes OK whatever just let me on the plane" button.
But it gets better. The flight contained a total of 10 passengers. Nobody needs priority boarding on a flight so empty the attendants had to ask us to move to balance the weight load.
And the cursed machine knew that. It knew exactly how many people were on that flight, and it still offered me its rip-off faux priority.
This is worse than those gas pumps that ask you if you want a car wash. At least those I can avoid; I'll just drive an extra block to a gas station that doesn't view every interaction with me as a chance to pick my pockets if I don't pay close enough attention.
But I can't do that with the airlines. I can't just change my mind at the last minute and go to the next one.
On the other hand, what I can do is leave this @#$%^&* country. Maybe Australian corporations haven't devolved to a business strategy that consists of rifling through my wallet when I'm not looking. Australia is generally 20 years behind the times, but in the case of airlines that's a good thing (remember what flying was like 20 years ago? Ya, it's like that right now on Qantas).
Sucks for the rest of you, though. Sorry.