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Is now the time to demand consumer-friendly changes?

Is now the time to demand consumer-friendly changes?

Old Apr 7, 20, 2:57 pm
  #1  
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Is now the time to demand consumer-friendly changes?

Airlines have been eroding any consumer friendly attributes about traveling: reduced leg-room, basic economy, baggage fees, cramped/unusable restrooms (for disabled), increased change fees, lowering frequent flyer benefits, changing from mileage-based to revenue based frequent flyer programs, etc.

Is now the time to demand a Passenger Bill of Rights? And an overhaul to the frequent flyer programs to go back to the mileage-based model? I believe this would go a long way towards expanding a loyal post-COVID consumer base, which would increase cash flow. Wealthy folks and those traveling on corporate contracts are going to keep flying regardless, but it's giving irregular flyers reasons to fly and become loyal flyers at that.

Any thoughts?
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Old Apr 7, 20, 3:07 pm
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They tried a passenger bill of rights in Canada and it got suspended during the pandemic. Furthermore, AC changed its tariffs when this "BoR" came into effect to tie involuntary refunds (for irops, cancelations) to the BoR rather than making it an entitlement of the tariff as it had been previously, so... Be careful what you wish for
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Old Apr 7, 20, 4:00 pm
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It would be better to avoid doing anything that will increase airlines' costs. Similarly, airlines need flexibility now, not increased regulation (which drives up costs and decreases flexibility).
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Old Apr 7, 20, 5:24 pm
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As a corporate flyer doing four or five expensive flights a week the revenue based ff award system worked great. Are you suggesting the airlines stop encouraging those flyers from going out of the way to pick a specific airline and go back to giving buckets of points to elite fliers on $500 rt ATL-KUL trips?
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Old Apr 7, 20, 6:08 pm
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Moving the thread to TravelBuzz as it is not directly related to Coronavirus/COVID-19.


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Old Apr 7, 20, 6:51 pm
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In what world is a revenue-based FFP consumer "unfriendly"? It goes without saying that there are winners and losers in any FFP and there are a lot of people who benefit substantially from revenue-based systems, e.g. people who fly TPAC in paid F/J and want redemptions for their family vacations.

Same thing for bag fees. Why on earth should I subsidize people who check bags when I don't?

As to the other stuff, the chances that anything which comes with an increased price tag gets done in the next 2-3 years is hovers at or around zero.
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Old Apr 7, 20, 7:27 pm
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Originally Posted by crfgon View Post
Airlines have been eroding any consumer friendly attributes about traveling. [...] Is now the time to demand a Passenger Bill of Rights? And an overhaul to the frequent flyer programs to go back to the mileage-based model? I believe this would go a long way towards expanding a loyal post-COVID consumer base, which would increase cash flow.
In short: No.

The time to be "making demands"?? ...? I'm sure airlines all over are bleeding money because of this whole ordeal and we'll all be thrilled (airline and customer) to weather the storm and get back to traveling again. Airlines will be happy to survive this at all. Earlier today Lufthansa had to finally axe Germanwings because of it.

As far as increasing cash flow - there are entire business units within each airline that all day, every day, try to maximize their revenue and cash flow, reduce expenditure, etc. That's why there are things like Basic Economy, why flight loads have been maximized, etc.

If you want more legroom or fewer restrictions from BE, etc. - you have the ability to do so with your wallet. Simple. The choice is yours.

Now is the time to be realistic and a pragmatist.
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Old Apr 7, 20, 7:28 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Same thing for bag fees. Why on earth should I subsidize people who check bags when I don't?
So LCCs have the right model? Why should I subsidize your carry-on when Im flying with nothing? Why should I subsidize your water when I brought my own? Why should I subsidize space for a bathroom when I can hold it for 6 hours? Etc.
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Old Apr 7, 20, 7:38 pm
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Originally Posted by _fx View Post
So LCCs have the right model? Why should I subsidize your carry-on when I’m flying with nothing? Why should I subsidize your water when I brought my own? Why should I subsidize space for a bathroom when I can hold it for 6 hours? Etc.
Well one of those is a fundamental ADA need, similarly to bulkheads being blocked out. Whether or not you can hold it is great and all. The rest I can agree with, and demanding regulation brings us full circle on airlines and increases prices. In this day of on demand everything, we can essentially get/bring anything we need on a plane, including extra legroom, which you can pay for on demand, Otherwise, expect the back of the plane to cost more than buying up does if you regulate it.
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Old Apr 7, 20, 7:40 pm
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Originally Posted by crfgon View Post
Any thoughts?
You can demand anything at any time. But the reality is no airline will care at all, especially now. In fact, they may simply file for Chapter 7 instead. The only way that can be changed is the airlines are regulated again, which is unlikely.

I see that you are UA 1K. Case-in-point - if UA is serious about its passengers, then UA does not have to wait until DL has acted and extends our status.
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Old Apr 7, 20, 8:34 pm
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All the things you want have been made optional because most customers want the cheapest deal they can get. You can pay extra and get more if that's your choice currently, so don't see what any "Passenger Bill of Rights" would do, except remove the rights of those who put price first.
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Old Apr 7, 20, 9:57 pm
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Originally Posted by ft101 View Post
All the things you want have been made optional because most customers want the cheapest deal they can get. You can pay extra and get more if that's your choice currently, so don't see what any "Passenger Bill of Rights" would do, except remove the rights of those who put price first.
Which I think is fundamentally what people forget when they ask for all this stuff. You pay, in one way or another, for what you ask for. Do people think if you're given a free checked bag, additional legroom, wider seats, a more enjoyable flying experience overall, free changes, IRROPs "duty-to-care" protections in weather events, that airlines are going to keep charging $29 for a OW fare? No, they're going to increase that fare to account for all those "extras" they have to provide. I get that we look at the EU261 regulations and think wow those are great (especially when you benefit from it), and I think there are some good things in it to keep airlines striving to be better on their part, but I also think it goes too far to hold airlines responsible for things out of their control (weather). I'm sure the cost of the airline providing those "beneftis" is baked into the ticket price somewhere.
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Old Apr 7, 20, 10:14 pm
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I think now IS the right time to start pushing consumer rights, but not nearly as extensive as what you're laying out. The government has no role in regulating frequent flyer programs - airlines could just as easily not offer them and continue to serve their function of providing critical transportation. So, what should the government look at?

- Minimum seat pitch and width requirements. No, we won't all end up with business-class-like legroom, but it's clear airlines will continue to squeeze people together beyond what is comfortable and arguably safe in a race to the bottom of profitability.

- Required refunds on all ancillary fees when service isn't delivered. Bag delayed? You don't have to pay!

- Advertised and aggregated airfares must include the cost of a seat and a carry-on bag in the bottom line total.

- Timely refunds. Take the carriers to the woodshed for holding on to people's money for so long during all these cancellations. Refunds must be paid within 72 hours of request or accumulate $100 /day /ticket in fines.

- Tickets must be able to be cancelled through every channel they can be booked through. I shouldn't have to call and wait on hold for 3 hours to get my money back if you're willing to take my money online in 10 minutes.

- Hygiene - Planes must be cleaned/disinfected once every x hours of flight time. Bathrooms must have operable sinks and soap.

I'm sure there's a lot more.
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Old Apr 7, 20, 10:55 pm
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Originally Posted by GuyIncognito View Post
The government has no role in regulating frequent flyer programs...
Not true. At least the U.S. Supreme Court has said so (Northwest, Inc. v. Ginsberg, 134 S. Ct. 1422. 1433 (2014))

DOT does have the authority to regulate FFPs if it so desires to do so, as it is related to airline service. But the thing is DOT did not make new rules for FFPs. Instead, DOT relies on its own existing regulations to regulate FFPs. For example, if a FFP is misleading, DOT can go against the program by the usual 49 USC 41712.
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Old Apr 8, 20, 12:54 am
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Originally Posted by Lux Flyer View Post
Which I think is fundamentally what people forget when they ask for all this stuff. You pay, in one way or another, for what you ask for. Do people think if you're given a free checked bag, additional legroom, wider seats, a more enjoyable flying experience overall, free changes, IRROPs "duty-to-care" protections in weather events, that airlines are going to keep charging $29 for a OW fare? No, they're going to increase that fare to account for all those "extras" they have to provide. I get that we look at the EU261 regulations and think wow those are great (especially when you benefit from it), and I think there are some good things in it to keep airlines striving to be better on their part, but I also think it goes too far to hold airlines responsible for things out of their control (weather). I'm sure the cost of the airline providing those "beneftis" is baked into the ticket price somewhere.
Airlines are not responsible for things out of their control, like weather, under EC261. The only thing they have to do in that scenario, is provide food&water if the delay is more than 2 hours, which I think is the correct thing to do (as airport food is ridiculously expensive).
EC261 just holds airlines responsible if they mess up (delaying/cancelling flights to either improve load capacity or due to poor maintenance, for example). Can you imagine how fast AA would've budged if EC261 was in play when they were fighting their mechanics (in court)? That stuff would've been solved within days, causing far less customers to experience delays, instead of the situation and results that we've seen.
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