Airlines shift focus from baggage fees to new services to make flying better, boosting revenue

  • Article by: SCOTT MAYEROWITZ , Associated Press
  • Updated: September 30, 2013 - 10:53 AM

NEW YORK — Airlines are introducing a new bevy of fees, but this time passengers might actually like them.

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localguySep. 30, 13 6:44 AM

I've flown Spirit Airlines three times it the past year. The first time was really irritating, since I wasn't expecting to pay for carry-on baggage or for beverages on the flight, but knowing that they do that in advance made the other two more bearable. And they ARE cheap. But all three flights have been late, between 1 and 2.5 hours, with no compensation. If I paid an extra fee, would they be on time?

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tomstromieSep. 30, 13 7:16 AM

The airlines can forget it as far as I'm concerned. Air travel is much more of a burden than it used to be, and I hate being dinged by fees everytime I turn around.

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Kathy_BrandtSep. 30, 13 8:09 AM

"I don't want you to have to do the math every time," says Rick E. Chat, managing director of digital marketing at American Airlines."...company speak for "let's see how much we can rip these folks off."

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railroadSep. 30, 13 8:31 AM

There is a scam for everything isnt there... Delta change my reservations on me 3 times when booking a vacation and paying extra to the better seats.. they kicked me back to the rear of the plane after paying the fees to upgrade... They split me up from my husband to let a single person have my husband's seat next to me.. great service

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stripeSep. 30, 13 8:49 AM

I fly a fair amount. There are bad apples but I've noticed a more positive flying experience all around. FOr the most part, I think the airlines do a decent job, even without the fees. Part of the problem is not with the airlines, but TSA and security lines. I would imagine they could save money in the ways mentioned in this article without being intrusive or angering people. FOr example, on shorter flights why not make the drink offerings an option. I like the way Southwest does it: take the orders ahead of time and bring the drinks to the people whoe want themn instead of wheeling that cart up and the entire length of the plane with everything on it.

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bluemocoSep. 30, 13 9:02 AM

@tomstromie -- I totally agree. The add-on fees for basic services (checked bags?!?) just drive me crazy. Yes, the airlines do very nice things for the frequent fliers, and that makes sense because business travelers are the airlines' key source of revenue. That said, airlines do very little to make the experience enjoyable for occasional/leisure travelers. For short-to-medium distance trips, I often prefer to drive the car...

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mn2niceSep. 30, 13 9:18 AM

If ever there was an argument for truly high speed intercity passenger rail here in the U.S., it is now. Articles like this one only serve to make the argument stronger. On trips of 500 miles or less for those who don't want the hassle of connections, or for trips of longer distances for those who don't mind the connections, truly high speed intercity passenger rail can return the traveling experience to being enjoyable. AND, meals can be offered on most, not just a few if any trips. Even Amtrak is beginning to see the advantage of offering free wifi on trains. Truly high speed rail is quiet, you get plenty of leg room, and you can get up to walk about the train much more easily than an airplane. The restrooms on high speed trains are roomy. Some offer showers. The European experience is a model we should be looking at here in the U.S. In September 2012 the European Commission/Eurostat reported "In total there were 360 551 million passenger-kilometres travelled on national railway networks within the EU-27 (excluding Luxembourg and the Netherlands) in 2009; this figure was considerably higher than the 22 538 million passenger-kilometres travelled on international journeys." And most European countries in and out of the EU are working as fast as they can to expand upon existing networks. It is time we did the same.

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zkat5zugSep. 30, 1310:00 AM

I don't know if others may be more interested in receiving offers before arriving, and at the airport, but for me it's just another irritant in a constant daily barrage of solicitations. You can't get through a day without someone walking up to you, or calling you on the phone trying to sell you something. Along with TV, radio, billboards, we all get hundreds, maybe thousands of solicitations every day. And now, like so many other retailers, the airlines appear pleased that they are able to record our personal movements so they can blast us with more offers. Sounds like just another reason to drive instead of fly. The only offer I'd like from the airline is to get through security with an ounce of dignity, something my wife and I haven't experienced in long time.

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dennisleeSep. 30, 1310:03 AM

Anybody that thinks "The sides are not included in the price of a steak," needs to spend more time eating out with the folks that have to sit back in coach class. I'm sure that must be true for the kind of restaurants this analyst frequents, but it's been a very long time (if ever) since I could afford to eat at a restaurant like that. My budget is more like Bakers Square where, if we go in on a Wednesday, not only are the sides included, but so is the pie.

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georgina17Sep. 30, 1310:24 AM

I suspect Delta's deal allowing customers to purchase seat changes at last minute was what I saw going on yesterday. For those of us who didn't take advantage of the opportunity to pay more, we got to stand at the gate with about half of the planeload, waiting for seat assignments. By the time 1st class was done boarding, there were still more than 20 of us still waiting for paper boarding passes to be generated and printed. This wasn't because the plane was changed, so something else, and it appears that our choices were to pay extra up to last minute or wait for a seat among those they others didn't pick.

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