Enjoy drinks on a flight? It’s going to cost you

While you’re saving for your day of air travel, keep a few dollars tucked into your wallet. You’ll need them if you don’t want to be sucking like a guppy out of a fish bowl when you get to your destination.

The latest trend in the pay-as-you-go flight experience is to charge for drinks. So far, credit cards won’t cut it. It’s cash only.

On August 1, U.S. Airways will start charging $2 for soda, water, tea, juice and coffee and up the cost for alcoholic beverages from $5 to $7 to passengers flying economy class.

Oh, woe is me. There goes my “Could I have an orange juice, club soda AND coffee?” routine. As trends go, considering carriers have jumped on the charge for all checked bags scenario, I expect the drink charges will also follow suit.

Just great. I’ve been on this kind of flight before. It was called SkyBus, and we know how that airline turned out. We flew to Seattle from Columbus. Since our flights cost $330 a piece already, we didn’t spring for the drinks until the flight back. Then it was one tea and an orange juice. A few months later, on a Delta flight to California, I thought how hospitable it felt to be given something to drink. I even sprang for the wine.

It may not seem like a big deal to have to pay for drinks on a flight, but personally, with airlines acting like they are relatives to a discount grocery store, the kind that just opens cardboard boxes up to save on shelving costs, whatever excitement there was taking a flight is now gone. People shop at grocery stores where food is artfully displayed, partly for the experience.

Where drinks are concerned, particularly since you can’t take liquids through TSA and airport prices are expensive, I’d rather have $5 tacked to the price of a ticket and let me think I’m being treated like a welcome guest. Would you let guests come to your house and not even offer them water, particularly on a day when it’s 90 degrees outside?

I wonder if this coffee pictured here on my last flight from San Diego to Columbus was my last free drink? If I had known, I would have savored it more. As the trends are going, I’d rather take Greyhound for anything that will take me just a day to get there. [Read Washington Post article]