Thursday, May 22, 2008

Don't Complain...

Yesterday, American Airlines announced a host of new changes to the airline. First, they are going to charge customers $15.00 for the first bag, and $25.00 for the second. Second, the airline has raised over-sized luggage, change fees, and a host of other fees. Third, they will be cutting up to 12% of flights and remove up to 45 gas guzzling aircraft.

As I look at travel forums thousands of people are starting to complain. Since 2001, many airlines have become lean, mean machines. They have cut capacity, reduced salaries, and developed new revenue streams. Now they have to take deep action, and I think they are doing the right thing. We, as flying customers are now paying for a seat on some flight, that is it. We need to expect to be charged for baggage, food, changing reservations. The airlines are being KILLED by competition, huge fuel bills, and constantly complaining customers.

When I traveled a lot I didn't get too discouraged about delays. But, there are countless times when people traveling were late, maybe an hour or two, and having a near stroke. Yes, planes are late, the more they use them the better the health of the airline. Yes, you aren't going to get to your destination at exactly the right time. Yes, and an Act of God might cause a change in plan, but most of us actually get there. It isn't worth yelling at a customer service person or shouting in the phone with a phone reservation agent. They didn't cause the delay, something else did. I have never understood this.

So, don't expect flying to every be like that of the past. Airlines had guaranteed revenue from the government, little competition, and high fares. Did you know that the actual price of a flight today is the same as it was in 1970, without inflation? They could afford to provide a great meal, and more room, today that is impossible.

My advice. Sit in your seat and think about the great vacation or business meeting you are about to attend. Bring on your favorite snack. Pack a lighter suitcase. Enjoy the fact you can climb on a plane and be where you want very quickly.

Fee Changes on American Airlines

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