Dear Andrea Spiegel:
I am speaking to you from 2009, which I can do because this is my column, and I can bend time and space to my inexorable will. Anyway, as JetBlue's vice president of marketing back there in the spring of '08, you'll be happy to know that your airline is still flying here in the future, and profitably, too. This undoubtedly has to do with your decision, and those at other airlines, last year to start charging people for amenities they once got for free. Only, of course, with some improvements. Now that we have to pay for them, airline pillows have a little less in common with heaps of newspapers. Huzzah. I can tell you from here in the future that the plan worked so well that it's expanded wonderfully. Just today, I was flying back from Florida, where I saw President Obama and Vice President Clinton open a dog-food manufacturing plant. ("Do you deliver your product?" the president asked. "Yes. We can!" replied the folks in the factory.) At the JetBlue desk, the smiling lady read me the price list. "OK," she said, "we have a seat with all the legroom you want for $800. Of course, there are less expensive alternatives. There's a window seat for $400, but you have to keep one leg behind your head for the entire flight. For an additional discount of $100, we can seat you upside down between a 700-pound man and a woman with a baby with colic." I did some quick figuring. We were down to $300. This was great. "What," I asked her, "do you have for a little less?" She looked at me skeptically. "You won't fit under the seat," she said. "But we can check you for $50."
Charles P. Pierce
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