Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Updates from the Friendly Skies

American Airlines, including American Eagle will start charging $25.00 for that second checked bag on May 12. JetBlue is charging $20.00. United, US Airways, Continental, Air Canada, Delta and Northwest are already charging $25 for the second bag. Alaska & Horizon will start charging $25 this summer. Spirit Airlines charge $10 for each bag/no free bag at all. The airlines are raising fares also at the moment up to $110.00 roundtrip. Ticket change fees are also up from $100.00 to $150.00 and calling your airline will also cost you more from now on.

A new rule to compensate passengers who are denied boarding because of an oversell by the airlines goes into effect next month. If you are involuntarily bumped you will/should receive up to $400 if you are rescheduled to arrive at your destination within two hours of your original arrival time or four hours for international flights, and up to $800 if you are not rerouted within that time frame. Look for the airlines to redefine the definition of “denied boarding”.

The airline dilemma as I see it: 5 airlines, Aloha, ATA, Eos, Maxjet, Skybus and Nationwide (in South Africa) have gone out of business recently and mergers between the big ones, Delta & Northwest, United and Continental or USAir are looming, fuel costs are sky-rocketing, so expect higher prices and less space available in the crowded skies. The regional airlines are struggling too. With charges for snacks, earphones, alcoholic drinks, the second checked bag, preferable aisle and window seats, look for the airlines to start charging for early boarding to make sure your carry-ons find space in the overhead etc. This is annoying of course especially when getting less legroom, no pillows or blankets or magazines, but who said the airlines should not be allowed to make a profit? I want them to be profitable so they maintain their planes here at home and get us to our destination safely and with our checked luggage and on-time. What happened to the friendly skies? You tell me!

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