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Airlines introduce new "Nickle & Dime" policies

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Airlines introduce new "Nickle & Dime" policies

Old 04-03-06, 11:05 PM
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Airlines introduce new "Nickle & Dime" policies

Airlines have truly perfected the art of alienating and annoying customers:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060404/...ine_quality_12

Airlines to Begin Charging for Amenities
By LESLIE MILLER, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Ask for a pillow and blanket to help get through a long flight and you may be out of luck. Or you may be able to buy a "comfort package" from Air Canada for $2. Like to check your luggage curbside? That could cost up to $3 a bag.

Airlines are starting to charge for many services that once were free such as assigned seating, paper tickets and blankets. Air travelers who don't fly often may be in for some unpleasant surprises when they reach the airport this summer.

"They're going to be confused and they're going to be somewhat upset," said Kevin Mitchell, president of the Business Travelers Coalition. "Is it going to stop them from flying? No."

Intense competition from low-fare airlines along with high jet-fuel prices have led many established carriers to cut back or charge passengers for amenities.

Many airlines no longer serve meals on flights, instead charging for snack boxes and sandwiches.

Sharon Ansara, a government supervisor from El Paso, Texas, flew an American Airlines flight from Dallas to Washington Monday morning.

"We didn't even get peanuts," she said after the 2- 1/2 hour flight. "They offered us a snack pack for $4. It stinks."

American spokesman Tim Wagner said that passengers have made it clear that their first priority in buying an airline ticket is price. The company offers a la carte services such as snack packs for those willing to pay for them.

Air Canada, which recently emerged from bankruptcy, decided against eliminating pillows and blankets, as some airlines have done. Instead, the airline decided to give passengers the choice of buying an inflatable pillow and a light fleece blanket for $2, according to spokeswoman Isabelle Arthur.

There are limits to what passengers will pay for.

American Eagle, which flies commuter flights for American, experimented in January with charging passengers for soft drinks.

"They evaluated customer response," Wagner said. "The customer response was, 'No, we don't want to pay $1 for a soft drink.'" The test ended, he said.

Some services once taken for granted are now viewed as amenities as the burden of ticketing now falls on the passenger with the home computer instead of airline employees.

Talking to an airline reservation agent instead of booking a ticket on the Internet will add $5 or $10 to the price of a ticket. A paper ticket instead of a computer-generated one will cost $20 or $30 for a domestic flight.

Passengers are also finding that the limits on baggage size and weight are lower, and that airlines are enforcing them. For most airlines, passengers are charged at least $25 for a bag that weighs more than 50 pounds. A third checked bag will cost $80 on many airlines.

Some airlines are now even charging to reserve seats with extra legroom.

United Airlines charges $24-$99 to sit in the Economy Plus section, which has five extra inches of leg room.

Some international carriers also charge for aisle or bulkhead seats. Northwest Airlines in March began charging $15 for exit rows some forward aisle seats.

Carol Mundt, a retiree who lives in the Washington area, travels frequently for visits and vacations. She heard about Northwest's new seat assignment charges.

"I was appalled that they would charge me for my aisle seat," she said while waiting to pick up a friend at Washington's Reagan National Airport.

Northwest spokesman Kurt Ebenhoch said Northwest has to be able to compete against low-cost airlines like Southwest, which doesn't assign seats at all.

Southwest, which carried more people in the U.S. than any other airline, doesn't charge for a la carte services, with the exception of overweight and oversize bags.

A soft drink, a bag of pretzels and a changed ticket don't cost extra, said Southwest spokesman Ed Stewart.

But Southwest doesn't offer services such as assigned seating or keeping an eye on an unaccompanied child who's making a connection.

Continental Airlines is one of the few that still offers hot meals on domestic flights.

Sandy Gorie, 45, a real estate project manager, lives in Cleveland and takes Continental to Washington on Monday mornings and returns on Friday nights.

"I've been doing this since November and my Continental experience has been great," she said.
Old 04-03-06, 11:08 PM
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I don't understand the airlines charging for headphones, food, pillows, etc. Why not just raise their ticket prices a few dollars and proclaim that all these amenities are "still free!"? Better PR, no?
Old 04-03-06, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by criptik28
I don't understand the airlines charging for headphones, food, pillows, etc. Why not just raise their ticket prices a few dollars and proclaim that all these amenities are "still free!"? Better PR, no?
it's the internet.

people do a search on orbitz or expedia or travelocity and see that airline A is selling a ticket for $200 and airline B is selling a ticket for $210 and they'll pick airline A.
Old 04-03-06, 11:37 PM
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I laugh at those that still pay for headphones. They have made the connection in the chairs standard and any regular headphone can plug in.
Old 04-03-06, 11:59 PM
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I don't get the "with competition from discount airlines" thing. I mean, discount airlines don't charge for these things so the major carriers are and they think this will help them compete?
Old 04-04-06, 03:56 AM
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I, personally, don't have a problem with them charging for these things. I don't use the pillows, blankets, drinks, or snacks. Everything I want, I bring on with me.
Old 04-04-06, 04:17 AM
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I've actually had a flight attendant ask me for $5 when I was using my own headphones. When I told her that the headphones were mine, she maintained that there was still a charge for an 'entertainment fee.' I just looked at her and said that the movie was terrible the first time I saw it anyway, and took out my Powerbook.
This was the only tale of victory I can proclaim against the pickpocket-airlines... unlike the time I got charged $100 for changing a flight date on a STANDBY, OPEN-ENDED ticket, even though the ticket wasn't locked in on their records and the only date on the ticket was written in with pencil. I_hate_airlines.

Originally Posted by strife
I laugh at those that still pay for headphones. They have made the connection in the chairs standard and any regular headphone can plug in.
Old 04-04-06, 09:17 AM
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I flew on AirTran in December (one of those cheapies) and they were giving out headphones for free and had XM Radio to listen to.

I have heard the new trend will be to charge for both checked and carry-on luggage. The airlines evidently feel that too many people are brining large carry-ons that go over the checked luggage weight limit, and again, this is another way to charge everyone a few dollars more than the advertised price online.
Old 04-04-06, 09:20 AM
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"In the event of an emergency involving cabin pressure, an oxygen mask will drop from the panel above you. To activate this mask, you must deposit $20 into the slot next to the panel. Your seat cushion may be used as a flotation device upon deposit of $10 into the slot in the armrest."

Thanks for flying Total Bastard Airlines. Have a pleasant flight!
Old 04-04-06, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by silentbob007
I have heard the new trend will be to charge for both checked and carry-on luggage. The airlines evidently feel that too many people are brining large carry-ons that go over the checked luggage weight limit, and again, this is another way to charge everyone a few dollars more than the advertised price online.
charging for both? if they're going to charge me to check my luggage and they're going to charge me to carry-on my luggage, where's the incentive for me to not try to squeeze a giant suitcase into the overhead bins?
Old 04-04-06, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by mndtrp
I, personally, don't have a problem with them charging for these things. I don't use the pillows, blankets, drinks, or snacks. Everything I want, I bring on with me.
Even if they stopped serving drinks, I'd just bring on my own.

Then again, Southwest is the only way I'll fly anymore.
Old 04-04-06, 09:26 AM
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If they are going to start charging for all of these amenities they had better start giving their attendants ample change.

Every time I have seen them doing the charge-for thing with headphones or anything else they never have enough change on them to accomodate their customers.
Old 04-04-06, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by mosquitobite
Even if they stopped serving drinks, I'd just bring on my own.

Then again, Southwest is the only way I'll fly anymore.
Bingo!

I take extreme pleasure in watching pampered customers used to amenities at other airlines "blow their friggin' minds" when they don't get treated like royalty at Southwest.

"What do you mean I can't show up 30 seconds before the flight is supposed to take off and still have my window seat? What do you mean I have to wait in line like everyone else? How daaaare you?"
Old 04-04-06, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by mosquitobite
Even if they stopped serving drinks, I'd just bring on my own.

Then again, Southwest is the only way I'll fly anymore.
Watch them prohibit food brought in from the outside and see how well you do.

In all seriousness though, this is the kind of travel we as consumers have chosen. We want the lowest fare possible and by cutting all the amenities out, airlines can offer lower fares, or by charging for the things they once gave away under the old system, they can hopefully reach profitability. Low price is THE main thing we want in an airline, all other things be damned. Now this is exactly what we are getting. We have the choice to be pampered or not to be, BUT we get the lowest fair possible if we want as well.
Old 04-04-06, 10:21 AM
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I'm enjoying Continental more and more everyday when I hear about stuff like this from the folks I work with. Unfortunately, I can't imagine that they aren't considering many of the very same practices.

I don't enjoy flying Southwest for business, but I think it's funny to watch the other airlines grouse about competing with them. They fight like hell to keep them out of their hubs, and when they can't, passengers get boned. Particularly enjoyable to me is that Northwest would complain about any competitor's practices. They virtually own MSP, crater their prices once or twice a year to drive out competition, then jack them up to among the worst in the country (potentially upwards of $1,000 for a coach seat). Then they charge you for snacks and "special" seating. I'll bet there are a lot of folks who would love to see Southwest fly into that airport.
Old 04-04-06, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by VinVega
Watch them prohibit food brought in from the outside and see how well you do.

In all seriousness though, this is the kind of travel we as consumers have chosen. We want the lowest fare possible and by cutting all the amenities out, airlines can offer lower fares, or by charging for the things they once gave away under the old system, they can hopefully reach profitability. Low price is THE main thing we want in an airline, all other things be damned. Now this is exactly what we are getting. We have the choice to be pampered or not to be, BUT we get the lowest fair possible if we want as well.
I think that's a great move. Unbundle everything and have airfare be for the flight (and supporting services like baggage). Then charge individually for movies, drinks, food, blankets, slippers, hot towels, roomier seats, etc.
Let me decide if I want to bring my own food onboard or pay $10 for a cheese sandwich.
Old 04-04-06, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by sracer
I think that's a great move. Unbundle everything and have airfare be for the flight (and supporting services like baggage). Then charge individually for movies, drinks, food, blankets, slippers, hot towels, roomier seats, etc.
Let me decide if I want to bring my own food onboard or pay $10 for a cheese sandwich.
I agree with that, but what happens when they ban outside food like at some sports arenas and movie theaters?
Old 04-04-06, 01:46 PM
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From getting to the airport, to parking, to waiting, to full body cavity search, there is really nothing I enjoy about flying as it is, so who cares if they make it a little worse. I'm flying because I have to, not because it is fun.
Old 04-04-06, 01:55 PM
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A radical fix for airlines: Make flying free
Ireland's Ryanair gives away tickets to earn big profits from other aspects of the travel experience.



Business 2.0 Magazine
By Matthew Maier, Business 2.0 Magazine staff writer
March 31, 2006: 11:31 AM EST


Michael O'Leary, Chief Executive of Ireland's Ryanair, Europe's most profitable airline, wants to make air travel free. Not free as in free from regulation, but free as in zero cost. By the end of the decade, he promises, "more than half of our passengers will fly free."

The remarkable thing is, few analysts think his prediction is far-fetched: Ryanair already offers free fares to a quarter of its customers.

Even without free flights, Ryanair has become one of Europe's most popular carriers. Last year it flew 35 million passengers to more than 100 European destinations, while its customers paid an average fare of just $53. The airline enjoyed revenues of $1.7 billion, up 20 percent over 2004, at a time when most competitors were stuck in a holding pattern.

Even more impressive, Ryanair's $368 million in net earnings gave the airline an industry-leading 22 percent net profit margin. (By comparison, Southwest Airlines's (Research) net margin was 7.2 percent.) "Ryanair has the strongest financials in the European airline industry," says James Parker, an equity analyst with Raymond James.

The secret? Ryanair's austere cost structure almost makes Southwest look profligate. In addition, the Irish airline puts a price on virtually everything except tickets, from baggage check-in to seat-back advertising space. As a result, last year Ryanair collected $265 million--15.6 percent of overall revenues--from sources other than ticket sales.

[Full Article]

<hr>

This article paints it in a slightly better light.
Old 04-04-06, 01:57 PM
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I'm all for them stripping away the amenities. I want cheap flights. I don't give a shit if they give me a can of coke or peanuts for free. I always bring my own stuff anyway.
Old 04-04-06, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by RoyalTea
people do a search on orbitz or expedia or travelocity and see that airline A is selling a ticket for $200 and airline B is selling a ticket for $210 and they'll pick airline A.
But when people fly airline A and see that they're nickle and dimed to death, they won't want to fly it again, and will choose to pay $10 more to fly airline B.

Whenever the price is comparable (within $35 or so), I fly Continental. I've never had a bad experience with them since their revamp. United and Delta can fall off the face of the earth, as far as I'm concerned.
Old 04-04-06, 02:01 PM
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God bless Ryanair.
Old 04-04-06, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by The Bus
A radical fix for airlines: Make flying free
Ireland's Ryanair gives away tickets to earn big profits from other aspects of the travel experience.



Business 2.0 Magazine
By Matthew Maier, Business 2.0 Magazine staff writer
March 31, 2006: 11:31 AM EST


Michael O'Leary, Chief Executive of Ireland's Ryanair, Europe's most profitable airline, wants to make air travel free. Not free as in free from regulation, but free as in zero cost. By the end of the decade, he promises, "more than half of our passengers will fly free."

The remarkable thing is, few analysts think his prediction is far-fetched: Ryanair already offers free fares to a quarter of its customers.

Even without free flights, Ryanair has become one of Europe's most popular carriers. Last year it flew 35 million passengers to more than 100 European destinations, while its customers paid an average fare of just $53. The airline enjoyed revenues of $1.7 billion, up 20 percent over 2004, at a time when most competitors were stuck in a holding pattern.

Even more impressive, Ryanair's $368 million in net earnings gave the airline an industry-leading 22 percent net profit margin. (By comparison, Southwest Airlines's (Research) net margin was 7.2 percent.) "Ryanair has the strongest financials in the European airline industry," says James Parker, an equity analyst with Raymond James.

The secret? Ryanair's austere cost structure almost makes Southwest look profligate. In addition, the Irish airline puts a price on virtually everything except tickets, from baggage check-in to seat-back advertising space. As a result, last year Ryanair collected $265 million--15.6 percent of overall revenues--from sources other than ticket sales.

[Full Article]

<hr>

This article paints it in a slightly better light.
unless those "extras" are rediculously overpriced, i cant see how this even works. cheap airline ticket then pay extra to take my bags? ill take that, assuming again that its not $200 per bag or something crazy. i can live without the towel and peanuts.
Old 04-04-06, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by VinVega
I agree with that, but what happens when they ban outside food like at some sports arenas and movie theaters?
I'm not sure they'd be able to get away with that. What if I'm a diabetic that needs to eat at a regular time, or a person that must take food with their medication, or have a severely restricted diet? I don't think they can legally force you to pay for such things, if they even have what you need on hand at all.
Old 04-04-06, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Breakfast with Girls
But when people fly airline A and see that they're nickle and dimed to death, they won't want to fly it again, and will choose to pay $10 more to fly airline B.
Of course, in the time since you've last flown B, the nickle and diming has started ....

For spring break, I flew roundtrip from Indianapolis to Orlando for $106 (final price) on Southwest. For that price, I don't care if I have to stand the entire flight ... and instead, they had leather seats (cheap of course), pillows, blankets, softdrinks, and chex mix.

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