Paying For Our Airline Baggage

By Friday, May 23, 2008 0 0

“More Ways To Make Us Pay” was the Oregonian’s headline yesterday for an article on airlines now charging for baggage due to the rising cost of fuel.

In my counseling days, we called that attitude ‘playing victim’. I would have used a different headline for the paying-for-baggage story, something like “Now We Get Paid To Be Disciplined”.


Background to which my husband Thor will attest: I struggle with packing. Whenever I prepare to go somewhere I am fearful I won’t have the right clothes once I get there. The other big fear is that I won’t have enough good things to read on the way. ‘I better bring this, I better bring that’, I mutter to myself as I charge around the house trying to pack. Of course I bring too much stuff. I think most folks in the ‘developed’ world do.

So I’m not saying it’s easy to deal with the new situation of paying for our baggage when we fly. But I’m clear that paying for baggage is the right thing to be doing — not to enhance corporate profits, but because price signals control consumption. We have to consume less fossil fuels, and we’re not good at disciplining ourselves to do that on our own.

Every pound that gets transported by fossil fuels uses more fossil fuel than if it weren’t getting transported. Ideally our pricing system would have reflected this reality all along, but gas has been unnaturally cheap until now. This is the big wake-up.

The diamond-cut life is about chiseling consumption down to the core things needed for happiness. I’m going to use the new situation of paying for airline baggage as my opportunity to calmly focus when packing and only bring what I truly need. By not bringing more than I need and not paying extra for it, I’m getting paid to be disciplined. That feels diamond-cut to me.

Check out The Real Cost of Fuel: $15/Gallon

Photo courtesy of Stephanie Booth

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