Note from the everywhereist: I originally submitted this to The New Yorker. While they didn’t accept it, they did send me a very nifty rejection letter saying my work had “evident merit and humor.” And though it may sound sort of pathetic, that rejection letter may have been one of the high points of my career. Also, a big thanks to Philip, Angela, Cristina, and Wendy for their always priceless feedback (you guys are another high point of my career).
“You’ve reached Quickie Discount Airlines. How may I help you?
Ah, you’d like to take advantage of our round trip special from Boston to New York for only $39? Of course! And because you’re making your reservation by phone, you waive our $45 online-booking convenience fee. Of course, you incur our $45 phone-booking convenience fee. … Hmm? No, I’m sorry, I can’t waive that fee – not unless you book via another means beside phone or online.
No, at this time, those are the only two methods of booking we offer.
Why yes, of course you may have an aisle seat – for a one-time additional charge of $85. Window seats will run you $75 … Just a middle seat will be sufficient? Very good sir. A middle seat will only carry a $50 surcharge. Why yes – if you find that the seat next to you on the flight is vacant, you most certainly may swap seats. That will incur a $25 convenience fee which will be collected in the cabin. Cash only.
Ha ha ha – no, I’m afraid we can’t just ‘duct tape you to the wing instead of bleeding you dry.’ That’s against FAA regulations.
And will you be checking any luggage for this flight? Just a carry-on bag? Wonderful! Unfortunately, due to space constraints all carry-on baggage must be checked. There’s a $127 charge for all checked bags. No, I’m afraid you can’t store it in the overhead compartment. The airline is using that space to carry cargo from a meat processing facility.
No, I’m sorry – you can’t stow your bag underneath the seat in front of you, either. We’ve leased out that space as well.
Will you be enjoying any beverages on this trip? Yes? Wonderful. Beverages may be purchased for $8. Alcoholic beverages may be purchased for $12. Ice is an additional $3 … Why, yes, you could purchase a drink on the airport and carry it on the flight, but it will subject to a $15 self-carried beverage surcharge.
Well, yes, I suppose you could just ‘drink a whole crapload before getting on the flight.’ No, there’s no regulation against that – our flight crew does it all the time. Though I recommend you purchase a lavatory token in case you need to use the facilities during the flight. They can be purchased in-person at our hub in Beloit, Ohio, for $3, or you can purchase them in-flight for $9. There’s a $2 surcharge for solid waste.
And will you be purchasing any meals on this flight? No? That’s probably for the best – the credit approval process can be a little slow.
Also, please note that in order to offer such low airfares, we’re unable to provide you with fixed departure or arrival times for your flight. We can assure you that you will depart on or near your departure date, and simply ask that you arrive at the airport 1 to 2 days prior to your flight.
What’s that …? Why, quite comfortably! Thank you very much for asking. And how do you sleep at night, sir?”