Last week I flew to LA on US Airways. As I sat on the plane waiting for takeoff, I noticed that this particular aircraft had drop down TV screens. Score! I buckled up secure in the knowledge that the monotony and misery of American air travel would be blunted by some sort of in flight movie. Crammed in a seat next to a fat guy, even Norbit would have been a welcome distraction. But US Airways had other plans.

The plane took off, the screens dropped down, and the first twenty minutes of my flight were not occupied with showings of second or third run movies… but with commercials. Not just any commercials, really annoying commercials whose sound was played over the airplane cabin’s speakers at maximum volume. There was no escape. The advertisements blared through the cabin, annoying everyone, screaming at us to buy this or that or fly here or there while we all sweated in our tiny, cramped seats quietly wishing for death. When the advertisements were finally over, the TV screens retracted into the ceiling and the Flight Attendant came over the same loudspeaker they’d moments before been using to hoc overpriced vacations to Atlantis resort, this time to inform us that the flight attendants had been working really hard all day, and were too tired to bother serving us any drinks. But if we wanted to buy some peanuts, they’d sell them to us for five dollars. How nice of them.

My experience wasn’t just an aberration. It’s all part of US Airways' new plan to recoup the cost of high fuel prices by making their planes so miserable that no one will want to fly on them, thus saving them the trouble of bothering to buy fuel for them, since without passengers they won’t have to fly anywhere. Tuesday the airline officially announced that they will stop offering in-flight movies on domestic flights as a way of saving a buck. Apparently this is a fairly large revenue source for Hollywood, so many executives are worried that they won’t be able to gold-plate their dogs.

Maybe I’m talking out of my ass here, but is anyone else starting to feel like major corporations are simply using high gas prices as an excuse to squeeze more money out of their customers? I get it, gas costs a little more money. We know. But come on, gas prices are now killing in flight movies? I thought that higher ticket prices and charging us for our baggage was supposed to cover gas prices. Now they need to suspend in flight movies, and not just suspend them but replace them with horrible, screaming advertisements? Give me a break. I want to watch Norbit. Ok, I don’t really want to watch Norbit. But I’d rather watch Norbit than commercials. Unless of course those commercials feature Eddie Murphy in a fat suit. Somebody get on that. Meanwhile, I’ll be sitting on the couch planning my next Holistay.

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