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CHICAGO (CAP) – American Airlines and US Airways announced yesterday that in order to make up for shortfalls in both companies' operating budgets, they will soon be rolling out a new $50 convenience surcharge to pay for what they're calling a "good old-fashioned punch in the face."
"What a lot of people don't realize is that back in the Golden Age of air travel – when flying was a privilege and people used to get dressed up to go on airplanes – a punch in the face was the fluffy pillow or comfortable headphones of today; everyone wanted one," said American Airlines spokesman Bob Goodfrey during a teleconference with reporters yesterday.
"We see this as an opportunity to bring back this important flying tradition," Goodfrey added.
Goodfrey went on to explain that tickets sold on or before the first of this month will be subject to the charge. The new fee is assessed at the point of purchase and it gives airline employees, both on the plane and in the terminal, the freedom to walk up to passengers and punch them square in the face at any time during their flying experience.
"I have to fly for work, so I have no choice," said Bert Carlton, 47, of Flint, Mich., while trying to slow a heavy flow of blood from his nose. "At least with this fee, I'm getting to relive a piece of important aviation history I had no idea existed."
Children ages two and older are charged the full fee, but parents can request open-handed slaps instead of direct punches to the face. Also, frequent fliers are partially exempt and can only be punched in the face while the aircraft is in the air.
"My parents live 1,500 miles away and they love spending time with their grandchildren, so we need to fly," said Martha Ewer, 33, of Sarasota, Fla., while getting a butterfly stitch placed under her left eye in the airport medical center. "And as opposed to other fees for things we already are accustomed to doing – checking our luggage or not printing out boarding passes at home – at least with this fee we get something new each time when we fly."
In addition, Goodfrey recommended that customers who already have reservations not attempt to reschedule or cancel. Not only will those customers be assessed the full surcharge, but also someone associated with the airlines will come to their house and deliver the punch to the face.
Both airlines also announced layoffs yesterday to 34,000 employees who were not only casualties of the current economic crisis, but also had "trouble landing uppercuts with either hand," according to a joint press release.
– John Gettings