Could AA ever integrate ala-carte fees into ticketing system?

 
Old Jun 20, 08, 9:25 pm
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Lightbulb Could AA ever integrate ala-carte fees into ticketing system?

I've been watching announcement after announcement and rumor after rumor about fee increases, new fees, etc, and the airlines seem to be missing a key piece that could result in less frustrated pax.

Wouldn't it be worth their time to add features into their booking systems to pre-pay these fees when booking? For example, if they were to start charging a carry-on fee per bag. For my business travels, I would need 2 carry-ons (backpack plus roller), but if I had to pay at the gate or on the plane, I would have a much harder time expensing it. If instead I could opt for 2 carry-ons ahead of time, they could not only better predict on a per-flight basis how full the bins might be, but they could get paid for 2 even if that trip I only brought 1. I think most corporate travel policies would gladly add that as a standard option.

The same would be true for meals. For long flights, I would pre-book a meal if it came with the ticket. However, I do not want to use up 1/2 of my per-diem to buy the lovely meals they have on the flights, and I always opt to bring my own. Again, if I wasn't hungry they make pure profit.

On the flip side, on top of the other hassles, I would be much more likely to go with the airline who charges the fewest post-ticketing fees to save my time and hassle, even if it means changing my alliance.

As I'm typing this it occurs to me that WN already does this somewhat by including a free drink with BS fares. Does anyone think this might happen in the future, or is it too much to hope for?

*edit* darn, can't fix typo in title. Should say ever, not every.
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Old Jun 20, 08, 10:43 pm
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I think this is a great idea, but since they're apparently using ENIAC to handle their computing, I'm doubt they're capable of adding such complex functionality...
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Old Jun 21, 08, 9:29 am
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I think it is a good idea, but the whoel point of the fees is that you find out about them later. IF you see them at the time of booking then you can price shop. They are adding all the fees to still look cheap and inline wiht the others.
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Old Jun 21, 08, 11:01 am
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How would this be poilced? I honestly don't have enough faith in most airline pax to not totally muck this up and delay everyone. You'd have some folks not pay and then try to sneak carryons ("But I took the same flight last week/month/year and you weren't charging anything!"), and other folks who have no idea about this because airlines have never done it before.

I think the farthest we're ever going to go down this road is priority seating, a la UA's E+ and NW's CoachChoice.
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Old Jun 21, 08, 11:35 am
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its a good idea

which is why it won't get implemented
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Old Jun 21, 08, 12:03 pm
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Air Canada does something similar, not for carryons, but for everything else under the sun that they charge for. If you want to check one bag, it is included, if you don't want to check any bag, you can opt-out with the booking and save some money. You can also pre-purchase a meal, buy a lounge day pass, or (gasp) opt-out of FF miles. It can't be that complicated to work this into the booking process as they've been doing it for years.
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Old Jun 22, 08, 12:58 pm
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Originally Posted by silverthief2 View Post
How would this be poilced? I honestly don't have enough faith in most airline pax to not totally muck this up and delay everyone. You'd have some folks not pay and then try to sneak carryons ("But I took the same flight last week/month/year and you weren't charging anything!"), and other folks who have no idea about this because airlines have never done it before.

Policing seems no more difficult than the current process. They charge, unless you can produce a BP that says you paid for it. All of the issues you mention apply no matter what for any fees they institute. All I propose is that instead of pulling out a CC or cash, you show your BP and they know you paid. Yes people could duplicate their BP, but I for one wouldn't risk using someone else's BP to save a few $. And for any of the BOB items, the FA would know if you weren't in the seat listed on the BP.
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Old Jun 22, 08, 1:14 pm
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Originally Posted by njmcgreg View Post
Air Canada does something similar, not for carryons, but for everything else under the sun that they charge for. If you want to check one bag, it is included, if you don't want to check any bag, you can opt-out with the booking and save some money. You can also pre-purchase a meal, buy a lounge day pass, or (gasp) opt-out of FF miles. It can't be that complicated to work this into the booking process as they've been doing it for years.
I know of some other airlines that do something similar as well. You prepay, then print our bar coded coupons for various services which are then redeemed at flight time. The agents and FAs have bar code readers which verify validity.
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Old Jun 22, 08, 2:24 pm
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Originally Posted by njmcgreg View Post
Air Canada does something similar, not for carryons, but for everything else under the sun that they charge for. If you want to check one bag, it is included, if you don't want to check any bag, you can opt-out with the booking and save some money. You can also pre-purchase a meal, buy a lounge day pass, or (gasp) opt-out of FF miles. It can't be that complicated to work this into the booking process as they've been doing it for years.
I've told other people for some time that this, to me, is a much more sensible way of imposing a la carte pricing from both a PR standpoint as well as a revenue standpoint ... when people get charged fee after fee, they get irritable at being "nickeled & dimed" ... but if you charge a higher base fare and then give people *discounts* for the services they don't use, then two things happen. First, the passengers who take advantage of that system feel like they're getting a *deal* (how many folks buy crap they don't need 'cause it's on sale?), and second, the airlines' revenue will actually be higher than a la care pricing on an as-you-use-it basis, since there will be some passengers who don't realize hey can opt out, and there will be some wh will buy services they might not end up using.
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Old Jun 26, 08, 10:07 pm
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Originally Posted by edlin303 View Post
Policing seems no more difficult than the current process. They charge, unless you can produce a BP that says you paid for it. All of the issues you mention apply no matter what for any fees they institute. All I propose is that instead of pulling out a CC or cash, you show your BP and they know you paid. Yes people could duplicate their BP, but I for one wouldn't risk using someone else's BP to save a few $. And for any of the BOB items, the FA would know if you weren't in the seat listed on the BP.
I'm sure the airline could come up with an effective system, but I fear that the time needed to check BPs, argue with protesting pax (even if they don't have a leg to stand on), match meals to pax who ordered them when people inevitably change seats, and so on would delay flights. And I have no faith that airlines would up staffing levels to compensate for these extra duties, so frontline staff would be stretched further and service would go downhill too.
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