Friday, June 13, 2008

Nickled & Dimed

We knew it was only a matter of time.

US Airways announced yesterday it will begin charging $2 for nonalcoholic beverages on its domestic coach flights beginning July 9. Will other carriers follow suit? The dilemma for passengers here is that they can only BYOB if they bought it at an airport store beyond security. When was the last time you priced a bottle of water or soda at an airport vendor? Right. Suddenly the $2 on the airplane sounds like a bargain. See how this works?

US Airways, like most commercial airlines these days, is in a world of hurt. They have survived bankruptcy not once, like NWA and Delta, but twice since 2001. They will also match American and United airlines in imposing a $15 fee for the first checked bags.

American, currently the nation's biggest carrier (until NWA, the little old airline on the prairie is acquired by Delta to become THE BIGGEST AIRLINE IN THE WORLD) has tried to raise ticket prices twice in the last couple of weeks but their competitors will have none of it. So instead they add more fuel surcharges. More nickle and diming. Wouldn't you rather just pay more for the ticket and avoid the festering fees?

What do you bet the next big thing will be the "carry-on crisis." As people try to avoid the checked bag fees, they will carry more bags on the airplane. There is not an infinite capacity for carry-ons here, folks. As more seats are crammed into fewer airplanes, overhead bin and under seat capacity has shrunk exponentially. When you get hit with a carry-on fee sometime soon, remember you heard it here first. Its only a matter of time.

I'm thinking I'll just travel with what I have on my body. It will be cheaper to buy a new wardrobe at the other end and mail it back home before my return flight.


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