Thursday, May 22, 2008

Flights Not So Fancy

Yesterday, American Airlines announced it was going to start charging passengers $15 to check their first bag each way. That's in addition to the $25 it's already charging passengers for their second checked bag.

And the other legacy carriers are thinking about following suit.

Of course, my first thought involved curse words.

My second thought was, well, finally, a reason I need this humongo giraffe weekender. (Altho, now that I'm looking at it again, I'm wondering if it's too big for a carry on and whether or not it has a zipper. There's nothing worse than having all your underwear spill out in the overhead compartment.)

The NYT has a story today about the change — and about all the fees and charges the airlines are adding to try to make up for rising fuel costs — and this is my favorite part:

"'I’m constantly surprised at the creativity in the wrong direction of airline management,' said Claes G. Fornell, a professor of business administration at the University of Michigan.

This week, the university’s American Customer Satisfaction Index rated the airline industry last among consumer businesses measured in the study.

In this light, American’s move 'seems really, dare I say it, stupid,' Professor Fornell said."

American reps said something about many passengers don't check their baggage anyway, so it shouldn't be a big deal, tho it will save them gobs of money.

And that's sort of the rub: Pre-fees, why aren't people checking their bags?

Because it's more convenient (generally) not to. Because they're afraid the airline might lose them and then they'll spend their entire vacay in the same pair of pants.

So their brilliant business model is to ask us to pay a convenience charge for something that's not necessarily more convenient? And, according to the NYT, "American does not plan to offer refunds if suitcases do not arrive with the plane."

Are you kidding me? If I pay an extra fee to check my bags, they better arrive with me, or I better get my money back. At least.

You know, people have lamented that travelers don't dress up anymore to fly, that it's just like taking the bus. And, really, are they surprised?

If you're going to have to hold your boarding pass and all your stuff while taking off your shoes, belt, and jacket, book it through the terminal to make a connection (after your connecting flight left an hour late), and schlub your giant giraffe weekender the entire time, it doesn't matter what you start out wearing. You might as well be comfortable.

1 comment:

jccvi said...

I picked up my father-in-law at the airport Sunday afternoon. It was like a big pajama party in there.