We’re in an unbelievable era of cheap flights. Every time I feel like saying these are the cheapest fares I can recall seeing, we catch another surprise. As with many good things, it appears it may be possible that the government is fixing to put a dent in that, albeit unintentionally.
I’ve been reading about a bill working its way through Congress that would potentially limit fees airlines can charge. This is on the heels of a few airlines raising the price of your first checked bag. Not all the big airlines followed suit. Even so, some members of Congress feel like they need to act to make sure airlines don’t push fees up further.
Keep in mind most of this is bluster at this point. No legislation has passed yet, though there’s a reasonable shot something does. American Airlines CEO Doug Parker decided to weigh in on that possibility.
His comments were interesting:
American Airlines Group Inc. would consider barring passengers from changing nonrefundable tickets if Congress limits what carriers can charge for the adjustments, Chief Executive Officer Doug Parker said Tuesday.
“That non-refundable ticket is of value to us,” Parker told reporters after speaking to a business group in Irving, Texas. “We knew that seat was going to be filled. It allowed us to do other things. We sold the rest of the airplane knowing that seat was going to be filled.”
What Doug Parker is referring to here is the fact that a nonrefundable ticket is currently revenue an airline can count on right now. If the customer wants to change their flight, they’ll usually be subject to a $200 fee ($300 for international travel) on the Big 3 carriers American, Delta and United. Even top elite members like myself are subject to fees like that.
My Two Pennies
I buy plenty of nonrefundable tickets throughout the year. If I had to guess, I’d say over 80% of the airline tickets I buy are nonrefundable. I’m well aware of the change fee when I’m buying the tickets. However, the gap in ticket prices between a refundable and nonrefundable ticket still make it worth my while to buy the cheaper flight and pay the change fee once in a while.
You may be surprised by my opinion here. As a business guy, I agree with Mr. Parker. The airline industry has plenty of taxes and regulation today. We don’t need another piece of legislation that tells the airlines what they can and can’t do. Sure, checked bag fees are a bummer. There are lots of airline fees that fall in that category. Along the same lines, I don’t like paying $40 to park my car at a hotel in Denver, Colorado. We should have legislation to cap those fees as well.
These are publicly traded companies that (unfortunately) have to answer to shareholders. If they can’t get their returns by raising checked bag fees, they’ll find another way. Chances are we’ll like that change less than this one.
The post Is A Big Change Coming To Cheap Airline Tickets? was published first on Pizza in Motion