• Have you ever wondered why if you're late for your plane, you'll pay a lot more for a ticket, but if the plane's late for you, well, just sit and chill.

    I've seen this so many times flying so many places.

    But recently Scott McCartney spelled out the cost-lynching litany very nicely in The Wall Street Journal.

    If you miss a flight on American Airlines, it'll cost you a hundred bucks to change, "plus" the price of the new ticket. Ditto at United and U.S. Airways.

    McCartney writes of a guy stuck in traffic, who had to hurriedly rearrange a ticket out on another carrier, only to find his return flight on the old carrier had been canceled. To get it back, he had to shell out another 490 bucks. He did. Lots of people do, because they have to and because the airlines can. Their seats have never been so full. Their brazen audacity never so over-the-top.

    I guess I wouldn't mind any of this if they compensated any of us for delays caused by mechanical problems or a crew that doesn't show up.

    They don't.

    And good luck getting them to cover you for meals and hotel stays if you're stranded.

    You're stranded and, you're screwed.

    Not all carriers carry on this way — just most of them. The ones who won't listen to our "mechanical" troubles, but have no problem inconveniencing us with theirs.

    It's a shoddy way to do business when times are good. Let's just say I have a long memory when times are once again, bad. They'll wonder why no one's in their seats. I'll just tell them, "Must be mechanical problems."

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