I’m Angry about the baiting and switchery of air travel.

What was included is now an extra. They now charge you extra for checked bags, that’s been happening for a while of course, and we have sort of become used it. It’s sort of like getting used to being punched in the face, I’m sure if you knew that every time you left your house someone would lay a fist between your eyes, you would on some level get used to it, but I cannot imagine ever getting to the point where you accept it as reasonable. That’s how I feel about being charged for carrying luggage on a plane.

You’re going somewhere a significant distance from where you live, and you going there for more that a few hours. It’s reasonable to expect to carry luggage, and it is unreasonable to be charged an extra lump of readies to do this. Okay if your taking well above the normal, I can see the cost issue and a fair charge is reasonable. But there must be a reasonable expectation of some luggage, there used to be! Some airlines are still “allowing” you to carry the first bag for free, but the path has been forged and this is slowly being eroded.

It’s as unreasonable as being charged extra for your carry-on bag, or being changed extra for a seat with enough room to be able to sit for the length of the flight without losing the feeling below the knees because there isn’t now enough room for an average set of legs. Or being charged extra for using the dunnie, or for being charged extra for a crap meal. All of these are being tested by airlines today.

And it seems that the airlines have realized this, since one thing is unreasonable and people have accepted it, then why not charge for every other possible unreasonable thing. They are trying it out, and guess what the flying public (having no choice) is accepting it.

For most flights you don’t choose the airline, you choose the destination. And given that there is normally very little choice as to which airline you use to go from A to B, you just accept their crappy service.

On the few occasions where I have a choice of airline, and given that normally the prices are almost identical, I choice based on which airlines have screwed me least in the past. It seems that the best an airline of today can offer is to suck least.

And what about the fuel surcharges. The moment crude oil prices increased the airlines passed on the cost to the passengers. But as the prices came down again it seems they forgot to reduce or remove these surcharges. For many flights now the surcharges and extra costs actually are greater than the posted cost of the flight itself.

I know airlines are having a very tough time, but I suspect this is not going to be fixed by screwing the customer. Paraphrasing the words of a very astute management consultant (Peter Drucker) “The purpose of a business is to create and keep customers, only when they are doing this well should they should look at cost an efficiency”. I’d suggest the airline industry has lost sight of the customer.

There are some examples of excellence in the airline industry, and these airlines are the ones that are profitable, safe, efficient and have happy customers, but I think they are focused on keeping their customers happy and then the others accolades are a consequence of that.



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One Reply to “I’m Angry about the baiting and switchery of air travel.”

  1. 1) Take a train,
    2) There’s no bait and switch, airlines post their policies quite publicly (because the government forces them to), and
    3) In the height of hypocrisy, the government does not allow airlines to call out the fees and taxes that they are forced to collect for the government to show you who’s REALLY screwing you

    Airlines have to make a buck and competition from no-frills airlines changes the business model. Unless you are flying to some really wacky destination, at least two or three majors can get you there with a variety of pricing options (based on date/time, connections, etc.). Most popular vacation destinations are also served by low cost competitors.

    A la carte pricing is just the next round of attempts by the airlines to make their product more competitive. Push the price down by $25-75 bucks, but charge for checked luggage, charge for meals, charge for in-flight entertainment. If it works, they’ll keep it, if it doesn’t, they won’t.

    Also, the airlines know who is their primary customer and it’s NOT the casual vacation passenger. Business travelers generate the lion’s share of airline revenue and the airlines are set up to cater to them. Frequent customers get perks like free checked luggage, complimentary upgrades, lounge access and free alcoholic drinks to keep their business. Airlines know that, for vacation travel, they are at the whim of the bargain fare hunter…if they get some, great, if they don’t, they still have an airline to run.

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