?`s and ANNEswers

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Flying High

Tomorrow I’m heading to O’Hare Airport and flying for the third time this year. And each time, I’ve found the online check-in process to be more and more difficult.

You know the routine.  Inside twenty-four hours of your flight you can go online and print your boarding pass, thus avoiding a stop at the airline’s kiosk to check in. So today, I waited until twenty-three hours before my flight to check in.  Turns out I didn’t have a seat assignment, and to get one for me and another for Earl cost an addition $33 per person.  Really?

No, I mean REALLY!

I called my travel agent who said this is becoming typical procedure. Airlines want you to pony up for a seat, even though you already have purchased one when you purchased your ticket. My agent said to sit tight, that seats would be released eventually and I wouldn’t have to pay for them. She said it’s a way the airlines hope you’ll fall for paying extra for a seat.

The thing is, we all know airlines overbook.  So Earl and I could get to O’Hare tomorrow and learn that, without paying extra for a guaranteed seat, we could possibly not be on the flight at all.  However, my agent has more information than I do; and she was able to research the flight and learn it was not overbooked.

So I waited. I waited six hours, and finally seats were released.  Turns out my husband and I are not sitting together, but at least we’re on the same plane.  So I went ahead and wandered through the maze that is now online check-in.  First, I was asked if I wanted to pre-board for an additional $30 a person. Then I was asked if I wanted to change seats.

You’ve got to be kidding!

I said “No” to all the added incentives I was offered and finally printed our boarding passes. But it doesn’t end there.  Once on board, we’ll be asked if we want to purchase snacks or a cocktail. And, if we were flying in October, we’d be asked to support Susan G. Komen’s breast cancer organization.

I guess I should be grateful we’re flying in September.

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