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Skyrocketing Airline Costs

Posted by Sloane Kelley on April 21, 2008

In the wake of the cancellation of more than 3,000 American Airlines flights recently, news is getting worse for air travelers. Next month, it will cost as much as $25 to check a second bag on five major U.S. airlines.

The fees will apply to coach passengers on Northwest, Delta, US Airways, United and Continental. It's just the latest in a series of extra costs that have included fees for aisle and bulkhead seats, curbside check-in and of course food and drink on board the plane.

A New York Times article addresses concerns about the baggage fees by business travelers. Pete Mitchell of luggage manufacturer Samsonite had particular worries for those who don't check bags.

As for the extra bag fee, even those who say they pack lightly for their trips anticipate problems caused by price-sensitive fliers overfilling their carry-on bags and using large amounts of scarce overhead-bin space.

“The thing that scares me about this is that it’s just going to encourage people to lug more stuff onto the plane,” Mr. Mitchell said. “For those of us that have only one bag, if I don’t board early, there’s no place for my bag.”

Air travel seems to be getting worse all the time and for travelers who end up stranded or inconvenienced, there's often no recourse. Air Canada has started capitalizing on the fear of getting stranded. They recently started a program called On My Way, which gives passengers 24-hour access to special customer service agents who will rebook you on the next available flight. The charge for such an extravagant offer is between $50 and $70 for round trip flights.

A family member recently sent me a segment from MadTV that sums up the way many travelers are feeling these days.

 
 
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