Stingy airlines? Nuts!

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Okay, it's confession time: I'm a little bit of a health freak.

In addition to obsessively reading labels, leading rallies against high-fructose corn syrup, and burning partially hydrogenated oils in effigy, I also try to eat every 2-3 hours, as it keeps my energy level high and enables me to eat more reasonably at meals. For this reason, I rarely travel without a huge supply of almonds, raisins, string cheese, V-8, and assorted other rabbit food. This comes in handy on airplanes, where the snacks are usually filled with tons of artificial additives and empty carbs.

Even though I pack my own food, I was upset when I recently heard that, as of June 1, US Airways is no longer giving free snacks to its coach-class passengers. While I rarely eat the crap that the airline hands out, I still feel like I've got a right to it. More importantly, the free food usually keeps my fellow passengers quiet and serene, which I really appreciate. Besides, I like to give the nuts to homeless people when I get to my destination, as it helps me begin my trip with good travel karma.


(Seriously, good travel karma is real. I learned that the hard way during a layover in Newark.)

I realize that jet fuel, like every other petroleum product, has gone through the roof, and I can understand why US Airways, Delta, and American Airline have all hiked their prices by $10 to $60 per trip. For that matter, I can even relate to their decision to offer a la carte services like fees for seat selection and whatnot. However, when airlines begin charging for the first piece of luggage and withholding the salty peanuts, I feel like things have just gotten a little too ridiculous. Where is the love?

For my next trip, I'm going with trains or buses. There's no humiliating check-in procedure for the Metro North railroad, the Bolt Bus has comfy seats, and even a rickshaw offers adventure. The airlines, on the other hand, have definitely jumped the shark!

Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. He's wondering, yet again, why the U.S. doesn't have transatlantic bullet train service.

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