Delta, United, I get it; you’re strapped. You have slapped an extra price tag on every fundamental of air travel. But please, find a more palatable way to increase revenue. Sit in your conference rooms and drum up ways to make passengers want to open their wallets.
Charge us for something we haven’t had before, like vibrating seats or in-air pedicures.
First, it was the meals.
Once I got past feeling angry that I had to pay for the food that I once was entitled to, I remembered that your food sucked anyway. It occurred to me to buy my own food, stuff I like. Now I always keep a Clif Bar tucked in my purse in case I get a free wait on the tarmac.
That’s what you predicted would happen: customers will complain for a while, but eventually the extra fees will feel normal.
Then, you started to charge for checked bags.
That took some getting used to also. I stopped “leaving room in my suitcase” as my mother always advised. But after I thought about it, I agree—someone traveling with two tons of luggage should pay more than me with my roll-on.
Caveat: checked bag fees increase your responsibility to not lose the luggage, AirTran. Be warned—the anger of the man who paid to get his luggage lost will escalate beyond your expectations.
Then, you made customers pay to sit in Exit Rows.
Now your policies are starting to hurt. Yes, Exit Rows are preferred seats and yes, passengers try hard to land them. But what if I have to perform the duties that come with being in the Exit Row? Will you pay ME?
Now we have to pay to NOT be in a middle seat.
Calling window and aisle seats “premium seats” and charging for them, creates intolerable situations. Delta, United, you better think hard about this.
You only release window and aisle seats once you have extorted as much seat money as you can. Passengers are afraid if they don’t buy a window or aisle up front, they will be squeezed in the middle seat.
The fallout: people traveling together cannot sit together without paying a premium. Unlike other incremental fees, this upcharge does not hit consumers who are using more of your services. It’s a seat. This pricing “strategy” feels more like blackmail.
According to the Associated Press, “The airlines say they try to keep parents and young children together. Gate agents will often ask passengers to voluntarily swap seats but airlines say they cannot guarantee adjacent seats unless families book early or pay extra for the preferred seats.”
Cannot guarantee adjacent seats unless families pay extra? That means you CAN guarantee adjacent seats, you just won’t.
Daddy, Make Them Stop
New York Senator Chuck Schumer is coming to the rescue. He is asking the Department of Transportation to force airlines to allow families to sit together for no extra charge. Government shouldn’t have to get involved, but they really they do, because airlines, like many businesses, will take all they can and them some.