I can’t say I read The Onion a lot. I’ll see the occasional piece wander by that someone sends me and usually get a bit of a chuckle. Recently, The Onion turned its attention to the world of travel. Thanks to Justin for sending this along. According to The Onion, American Airlines will no longer offer complimentary cabin pressurization for coach passengers:
“Unfortunately, to stay competitive as a legacy carrier in today’s air travel market, it no longer makes economic sense for us to provide breathable air at altitude,” said American Airlines CEO Doug Parker, noting that despite the cutbacks, air pressurization would still be available to first- and business-class travelers as well as those willing to pay an additional fee. “While we regret any altitude sickness, blood problems, dimmed vision, or hyperventilation that may result from air pressure less than a third normal levels, we remind our customers that such effects will diminish as soon as the aircraft descends below 10,000 feet.”
It’s a fresh take on an aged trend in the airline industry, ancillary fees. There isn’t much an airline hasn’t tried charging for, some with more success than others. And, you would think that would anger customers and cause them to change their behavior, booking elsewhere. View From The Wing talks about why that’s not the case:
If a company can charge you more and give you less, and you don’t materially change your behavior, well then they probably should do just that. It’s in their interest.
If you aren’t going to move your business to products offering you better value propositions, then you get exactly the program and fee structures you deserve. No sense complaining.
Of course there’s a collective action problem: you may move your business, but unless enough business moves then it’s not going to matter. You need to do more than move your business — you need to move the needle. So you need to amplify your voice.
I believe it’s true that most people don’t change their behavior when their airline of choice tacks on a new fee or changes a policy in a fashion unfriendly to the customer. For some, it’s a result of being “hub captive”, needing direct flights to destinations, thus limiting who they’ll choose to fly. For others, they may enjoy the loyalty status they’ve earned and put up with the most recent changes because they don’t want to start over with another airline.
The way I see it, airlines will continue to find ways to charge customers more money. Fare increases have proven harder for the airlines to make stick, so why not charge more fees? I’m thankful to spend a bunch of time in first class flying domestically on American Airlines, but if The Onion is right about changes to come, I’ll be sure to invest in the new “comfort package” offered by United Airlines when I’m sitting in their coach cabin so I can breathe comfortably.
Don’t miss any of the daily travel tips, tricks and strategies found here. Follow me using one of these options: