Typically, the flight attendants gossip in the forward galley, between the drink/snack service, an extra that, if passengers want a beverage or bite to eat, they must pay for during the flight.
“We except both cash and credit card. Exact change is always appreciated.” (said like fudge sauce on a hot fudge sundae, oozing with over-the-top sweetness).
Yesterday, instead of the forward galley hangout, one of my favorite stews and I, plopped down on the aft jumpseat, the jumpseat that is located between smelly aft lav #1 and smelly aft lav #2. This small space is already awkward, and is especially so, when passengers use the lav, as the lavatory door is inches from hitting anyone standing or sitting in the vicinity. Not one of my favorite places, but for some reason, Es and I found ourselves there, falling naturally into conversation, laughing and discussing all things deep and meaningful.
As passengers rotated through using the lav, the two of us resembled personal restroom attendants, opening the lav doors, telling passengers if the lav was vacant, and joking with each other that we needed mouthwash, tissues, and a tip jar.
As a certain passenger approached, I threw out “Bathroom use is $1.” His eyebrows raised, but with no other question, he reached into his pocket. A smile spread across my face and laughter escaped my lips. Just kidding. Gotcha:)
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We happened to be joking, but for some airlines, charging fees for your bag, your cat, your water, your snack, and even lav use is the flavor of the day. I honestly believe that if my employer could get away with charging for lav use, they would turn all inflight potties into a coin operated piggy bank.
RyanAir, Europe’s crowned king of cheap travel, announced the possibility of charging 1 euro for lav use on short-haul flights, and Spirit Air tried to charge for overhead bin space, but revoked that moneymaker after the unpopular fall-out from the American travel population.
In Europe, being charged a euro for a public restroom is expected, and paying for a glass of water in a restaraunt is normal, where as, in the states, get ready for the angry question, “What?!? I have to pay for water? No, I just want a glass. I have to buy a bottle? OMG! I can’t believe these people. This isn’t a free bathroom?! What you have got to be kidding”
Even I think it might be over the top to charge you for a 16 ounce bottle of water, but the flight attendant didn’t make these rules, so when I’m not walking through the cabin with free handouts, please just smile at me instead of frown.
Overall, times have changed and gone are the days of free bags and gourmet meals. As a traveler, you now need to learn and accept that if you want cush and comfort, pull out that wallet.
Here is some useful information on charges that are most likely not included in your airline ticket, and some tips on how to avoid paying extra.
Airline Baggage Fee Chart– List of airlines, worldwide, and prices to expect for checked luggage
Domestic Carriers that still offer free snacks. (There are few left).
When traveling Internationally, you can still look forward to a delicious (sarcasm) airline dinner at no extra charge.
How to avoid luggage fees: Pack in a carry-on size bag, take it to the gate, and there, ask the gate agent to gate check the bag. If the gate agent will not, ask the flight attendant when boarding. Find out whether the airline sends gate checks to baggage claim or if bags are found plane side upon arrival.
How to avoid pet carrier fees: I have heard rumors that some people buy a service vest for their pet on eBay, and essentially, sneak their pet onto the plane. This strategy, obviously not honest, shouldn’t work, but I’m guessing it happens fairly often. The gate agents and flight attendants communicate between each other of pets on board the cabin, so beware, you are being watched…
How to avoid snack and beverage fees: All I am going to say is that there are some unsaid no-reving rules within the airline industry. If you know any crew, ask them. I can’t give away all the secrets:)