Thursday, May 22, 2008

Airlines Stick it to Passengers Again

Just when you thought it couldn't be worse, the airlines roll out their latest plan for customer $15 to check a bag. I am not sure what you get for the price of your ticket now, there is no customer service, no food, no drinks most of the time, now you can scratch checked baggage off your list. In addition for the price of your ticket on American Airlines, you have to pay $15 per bag to check them. This will certainly be copied for the rest of the U.S. airline industry.

Peter Greenberg, travel editor for NBC's Today Show, understands why discount carriers charge for extras, but he thinks premium carriers like United and US Airways are stepping over the line.

"The overall problem here is the airlines nickel-and-diming us, looking at every possible aspect of our travel as a revenue center," Greenberg said by phone from Las Vegas. "It's one thing if an airline says we're low-cost and you're going to pay for everything short of breathing. At least you know going in. But an airline that brands itself as a premium legacy carrier should be ashamed of itself."

The following is a list of things you will probably have to pay for in the next couple of years:

- Jetway service charge $10, otherwise passengers will have to crawl onto the plane through the belly.

- $5 boarding fee to have the gate attendant scan your boarding pass. Those passengers not wishing to pay the fee will have to attempt to sneak past the gate agent to board the plane without being caught.

- $10 seat fee in order to have a seat on the plane, otherwise passengers will be duck taped to the outside of the plane for the flight.

- $5 seatbelt fee, $5 oxygen fee, $5 fee to evacuate the plane (these fees apply only if there is an emergency on the plane

- $10 fee to exit the plane at the end of your flight first, all others will have to wait

- $5 lavatory fee, there will be slot to place a credit card in the door of the lavatory if you wish to use it during your flight.

A day after American announced it would add a $15 fee for a first checked bag, customers and industry observers are still gauging the fallout from the move. Fliers have expressed surprise and outrage to the move, while industry observers warn the new fee could further complicate the flying experience. suggests "the new baggage fee is likely to create havoc in airports and jet aisles as travelers try to beat the system by squeezing all their belongings into carried-on bags, further straining overhead bins' capacity. And it won't just be seasoned travelers but also newer ones, who might not know they can't bring aboard water bottles, razors or nail files, which will hold up the lines at security checks."

"Everyone is going to try to beat the system," Henry Harteveldt, an airline analyst with Forrester Research, predicts to "When you can check your bags for free on Greyhound, but not on an airline, it's a sad comment on the state of the whole industry," he adds. The Chicago Tribune (free registration) writes AA "will rely on security screeners to remind passengers of restrictions that limit them to two carry-on items, and that the airline's workers also would be on the lookout for passengers toting overly large bags."

'When you can check your bags for free on Greyhound, but not on an airline, it's a sad comment on the state of the whole industry.'

— Henry Harteveldt, Forrester

Stumble Upon Toolbar


SheR. said...

Oh I hate those too! American Airlines probably got the idea from Ryanair in UK?? Those money suckers!!! :P