Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mrcn rlns chrgng fr bggg.

American Airlines is seeking to improve its bottom line by charging you $15 if you choose to stow a bag. Apparently all that baggage adds weight which costs fuel. That being the case, I wonder why my 110-pound daughter should pay the same as the typical 300-lb behemoth who heads out to Chicago for business.

The headline of the post is "American Airlines charging for baggage" written without vowels. I wrote it as I imagined a world where things we take for granted as free now come with a price-tag attached. Blogspot charging for vowels. American Airlines charging an "engine maintenance fee." Imagine a "cup fee" at Starbucks or a "lid fee." How about a "vote-processing-fee" in November? Not a poll-tax, that would be un-constitutional of course, but a simple counting fee. Or an Eliot Spitzer genital-fondling fee. Schtupping is included, but anything more than that entails a surcharge.

I'll leave it at this. American Airlines will only alienate its already alienated customers. Alienate is too mild a word: people will hate them more than ever. They will take it out of the staff. There will be lawsuits when bags are lost. This will be a public relations nightmare. The carrier will be in chapter 11 sooner with this policy than without.

In short, AA's charge for baggage policy is about as rapacious 19th-Century robber baron as you can get. If the marketplace offers choices, people will choose to fly someone else.

"We know why you fly" is American Airlines' slogan. I'm pretty sure the reason we fly isn't to be barraged by annoying and petty charges that piss us off.


Laura said...

The only reason we fly is because we have few other options and we have to. What a crime that we don't have the great rail system we are could have. The airlines are all horrible from that first step into the terminal to when you leave on the other end.

Alan Wolk said...

There's an unwritten law in the retail business that says you can never take things away from customers. Even if it's just the bowl of free mints next to the cash register.

It pisses them off. Big time.

I remember reading this and thinking "and if they'd jacked up the fares by another $15 a person and offered you a $15 savings for NOT checking any bags, making it sound like some sort of environmental reward..."

What's worse, is yesterday's WSJ reported that all the other major US carriers are expected to follow suit.