What if We Started Charging You Like Airlines?


The lightning came while reading the informative columns of Brian Cohen at The Gate, writing wise analytical words about ancillary airline fees. The thunder came as dollar signs. Why not run The Tarmac like an airline and charge for extras? Maybe get an 800-number in Mumbai.

From here on, á la a recent move by Southwest, you can be among the first (Group A) to read The Tarmac by sending in $40. The $10 you can pay for an “Early Bird”  “business” font is separate.

Sure, back in the days of calm you just clicked on FlyerTalk and you were there. Now it’s just the beginning. The fees are going to pile up. And we owe it all to the airlines and Brian Cohen at The Gate for planting the seed.

FT members know all about unbundling fees and the sliding price of airline tickets. If airlines now accept limits to traffic growth and concentrating on revenue growth, why shouldn’t The Tarmac?

Domestic airlines raised $2.4 billion in change-penalty fees in 2011, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, an agency of the Transportation Department. That same year, they raised $3.4 billion charging for checked bags. I’m trusting the math of Joe Sharkey at The New York Times by citing those really big numbers.

So from here on in …

If you’re reading this on a laptop, no extra charge. But if you’re carrying a hardcopy, you’re going to have to check it. That costs extra. So does placing it in the overhead. And if you want to stretch your legs while reading, maybe with a pillow and a blanket, well, we got you covered as long as we have your credit card number.

If a child reads this without supervision, that, too, is extra. You got a pet? If it paws at these words, or shows emotion in any way while you read out loud, you bet that’s extra. If a printout ends up as kitty litter, forget it. You can’t afford that.

You want to switch to an earlier Tarmac, or one written on some future day. Changes cost. And if those changes are done up close and personal, and not online, sorry, we’ll clip you more for the face-to-face. The charming Mumbai operators cost so little. Voices wearing uniforms want North American wages.

Suppose you read the first paragraph and then bail out, ignoring our command to READ MORE. We consider that a “canceled” read and we’re charging you for cancelations, for teasing us and then, in the end, wasting our time when our server was ready to serve you. They’re going with or without you. It’s only fair you chip in.

You’re on Wi-Fi, right? The charge is on your card statement. So are the headsets.

We’ve also got fresh vegetarian and roast beef sandwiches, as well as cocktails and generic reading glasses for $9.

We know you have options when it comes to reading. Thanks for reading The Tarmac. Have a nice day wherever your day’s reading takes you.


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Comments (Showing 4 of 4)

  • luxury at 10:12pm January 28, 2013

    Fee to make a post. A further fee to edit posts. And a non-refundable fee to delete any posts. Excessively long posts are subject to excess verbiage fees. Posts with pictures, special characters require special handling and are subject to additional handling fees.

  • Brian Cohen at 2:37am January 29, 2013

    I do not have any record of you paying the fees incurred for the ideas as a result of reading The Gate, Gerry. I would post that fact here in the Comments area, but I understand you charge a fee for that…

  • MIT_SBM at 10:53pm February 01, 2013

    Once one clicks on the link to read a post one’s eyes are prevented from reading anything else [accomplished with magic, of course] and The Tarmac has up to three hours to deliver the post before releasing one’s eyes. On the other hand, if one does not start reading the post within 15 seconds of it being delivered then the post’s window will close and one still owes the reading fee.

    Least we forget, not all ‘fees’ are pecuniary in nature. After all time is money.

  • sammy7 at 9:43pm June 14, 2013

    Next fee to come along is overhead bins become chargeable. You get on a plane with locked overheads.

    Pay $10 to get a key, or keep your luggage on your lap for the rest of the flight.

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