The latest Spirit in Airline Customer "Service"

(Blue Ocean Network - April 14, 2010) -- What can we say? Airlines really don't want to have any customers when you hear the round-up of bizarre customer service behaviour we're reporting below. Let's hope this doesn't catch on and go global...

Last week the small Florida airline, Spirit Airlines Inc. became the first airline to announce it would charge up to $45 to put a carryon in an overhead bin starting August 1, 2010.  Spirit airlines really, really, really wants you to like its carry-on baggage fees. Is this the Spirit of flight, the spirit of customer service or the spirit of greed? Check out the article.

In the wake of Spirit's announcement, earlier this week two Democratic U.S. Senators introduced legislation that would ban airlines from charging fees for bags carried aboard planes. "We cannot allow these flood gates to open." remarked Senator Ben Cardin.  Read the article here.

Today, six U.S. Senators have announced they want to hit U.S.airlines with a tax if they charge passengers with their carry-on bags saying that this would keep more airlines from following Spirit Airlines' lead.

Meanwhile the US Passenger Bill of Rights goes into effect April 29, 2010. For an overview of passenger benefits and traps coming into effect, read this article at The Musings of the Global Traveler website.

Has anyone told Capitol Hill that luggage fees, that started with a trickle a couple of years ago, have turned into a torrential downpour?  And they aren't covered in the passenger's bill of rights.

UK's most hated discount carrier, Ryanair is complaining that Boeing won't scrap toilets for more seats - and Ryanair is still planning on charging for using toilets inflight:  More airline spirit we can do without. Check out the full article.

Finally, Travel Mole USA reports the latest from Kevin Huffman writing in the Washington Post. Huffman suggests facetiously that the airlines stopping the nickel-and-diming and just start charging passengers by the pound. The reality is air travel costs money. There are the fixed costs like  employees and the variable costs  like fuel. Adding passengers and carry-ons increases the variables, but not the fixed. So Huffman suggests

“Airlines can put out giant livestock scales, and each passenger can step on with all luggage, checked and carry-on. Airlines can charge us a buck a pound, and -- voila! We are incented to get in shape and to pack lightly, and airlines have a meaningful fee structure,” Huffman says.

Huffman concludes: “Most importantly, airlines can finally end the pretense that passengers are treasured customers and treat us the way they really view us. Mooo!” 

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April 14, 2010

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