It might seem to the casual observer that airline executives spend much of their time figuring out new ways to clobber passengers with more fees. After all, fees like baggage and reservation changes brought them an astounding $15 billion last year.
The friendly skies “feexecutives” will now let passengers pay to keep an empty seat next to them. They will now sell hot, first-class meals in coach, and some will now rent Apple iPads pre-loaded with movies. And when on the ground, at your destination, you can now skip baggage claims and have luggage delivered directly to home or office.
These new fee streams of income will help to overcome the dwindling income from first generation extra fees. For example, revenue from regular bag fees, etc., in just the three months of April, May and June dropped seven percent compared to last year. Thus “executive think caps” are concentrated on a new generation of extra special charges.
And technological upgrades have opened a path for the airlines to sell products directly to passengers.
Soon booking passengers will be faced with a variety of personal sales pitches, or find it important to check out e-mail as trips approach, or sort through “bargains” on mobile phones just prior to boarding. Delta has even gone as far as giving its flight attendants wireless devices to sell last minute upgrades for seats with more legroom.
Just a thought: When was the last time we heard about the airlines providing more free comfort or convenience to its long-suffering customers?