Possible Dangers of 2006

Old Jan 1, 06, 6:20 pm
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Possible Dangers of 2006

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Commentary: Big airlines trying to nickel-and-dime fliers

By STEVE HUETTEL
ST. PETERSBURG (FLA.) TIMES

Not that long ago, full-service airlines joked about the low-class service on discount competitors. Look who's laughing now.

Hardly a month goes by without a traditional airline introducing a new charge for something you used to get free.

Maybe you missed the latest. American Eagle, the regional carrier for American Airlines, will start charging $1 for a soft drink or juice next month on its flights in and out of Los Angeles. Coffee and water are still free.

This is a test "to figure out what our customers will pay for," David Jackson of American Eagle told The Dallas Morning News.

A deadly combination of low fares and high costs, most recently caused by fuel price spikes, has resulted in billions in losses and a spate of bankruptcies.

Even after big layoffs, pay cuts and pension dumping, many airlines continue operating in the red.

Any idea that could save money or bring in new revenue became fair game. But now, discounters provide amenities that former full-service carriers don't -- a point that isn't lost on the low-fare guys.

"While other airlines look to nickel-and-dime their customers ... Southwest Airlines continues to offer the gift of customers service this holiday season -- for FREE," the airline bragged in a statement last week.

If you haven't kept track of all the changes, here are some highlights:



Curbside check-in: American, United, Northwest and Alaska Airlines charge $2 per bag at select airports, not including tips for skycaps.


Reservations: Most airlines charge a fee, typically $10, to book a ticket over the phone or at a ticket counter rather than online.


Pillows: American, Delta and Northwest have pulled them off domestic flights. Air Canada charges $2 for a "comfort kit," which includes an inflatable pillow and lightweight blanket you can keep.

More charges are in store for 2006, warns airline expert Terry Trippler of Cheapseats.com, a travel Web site.

He predicts that airlines will add fees for assigned seats, aisle and emergency-row seats (with extra leg room) and checking luggage.

Sound far-fetched? European discounters have already gone to such "a la carte" pricing.

The new US Airways is closely watching America Eagle's pay-to-sip test, spokesman Carlo Bertolini said.

But that could backfire on the airline that's positioning itself as a low-fare carrier with full-service perks such as first-class seats and a global route system.

"Every time the big airlines find a new fee, Southwest and JetBlue do better," said Joe Brancatelli, who runs JoeSentMe.com, a business travel Web site. "What they don't get is that customers have expectations of them."
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Old Jan 2, 06, 2:26 pm
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Originally Posted by kinglobjaw
Thursday, December 29, 2005

Commentary: Big airlines trying to nickel-and-dime fliers

By STEVE HUETTEL
ST. PETERSBURG (FLA.) TIMES
"
I posted this article 12/28, post titled "What else can airlines charge us for?".

Mods, please delete or close this thread.

Original post:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=508164

Last edited by Sally4th; Jan 2, 06 at 2:30 pm Reason: link to orig post added
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Old Jan 2, 06, 2:36 pm
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I apologize!
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