I’ve read a few articles recently about the proliferation of additional fees that airlines say they’re “having” to charge merely to survive. An airline not in bankruptcy these days is almost news in itself, and we’re all aware of the steps pretty much all airlines have taken since the onset of the current recession to provide incremental revenue.
The most successful of these has been the checked baggage charge – ranging from $10.00 to $25.00 or more even for the first bag, to upwards of $50.00 for the second bag. Apparently, the top 10 US airlines collected $670 million in bag fees in the second quarter, a 276% jump from the prior year according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
I would suspect that for most people, these baggage fees don’t enter into the equation when shopping for flights. The core price, time of day and day of travel itself, are the determining factors, with a built-in acknowledgement that there will be a baggage fee. At least this might help people (like my family) cut back on the amount of clothing they take on vacation: pack for 2 days and use the laundry two or three times if need be!
The latest surcharges I read about were for popular holiday travel dates (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Memorial Day), with a $10.00 surcharge being added by United and American, and quickly followed by Delta, Continental and US Air. That has now grown to cover airline tickets for travel over Spring Break travel weeks in March & April as well.
A counter-argument to all of this is that fliers will no longer be subsidizing products or services they don’t use. However, I’m sure this won’t be the end of ways in which airlines attempt to generate more revenue. “Would you like me to dispose of your sick-bag sir? Yes? That will be $10.00 please”