Cranky on the Web (November 21 – 25)

Taking First-Class Coddling Above and BeyondThe New York Times
I was quoted in a front page article talking about First Class on long haul flights. More importantly, Geoff Fischer was interviewed about his write-up on Cranky of his Cathay Pacific experience.

Air travel tax could pinch small citiesCNN Out of the Office
I wrote about this on Cranky fairly recently, but I wrote another one about the air travel tax proposal. I believe this is dead for now since the Super Committee failed to reach any agreement this week, but that doesn’t mean it won’t come back.

The Qantas Labor IssueCNN International World Report
CNN International had me on to talk about the Qantas labor fight, and I was off my game. Definitely take note of the hilarious stone-faced response from the anchor after my phone accidentally goes off. (Thanks for the call, Justin . . . punk.)

[Thanks to @CNNFanCentre for grabbing the clip]

Friendlier Skies? Airline Passenger RightsThe Kojo Nnamdi Show
If you have some time, take a listen to this hour-long segment from the Kojo Show on DC public radio. We get into some good discussion about passenger rights. The one thing I wish I had been able to respond to was Charlie’s mention that airlines won’t give travel agencies and online travel agents access to their fees. That’s not true. Fees are readily available. If TripAdvisor can integrate fee information, why can’t others?

Free Checked Bag Legislation is StupidConde Nast Daily Traveler
I love when my editor gets to the point with titles. The latest proposal from Senator Landrieu (D-LA) to require a free checked bag is just so wrong.


8 Responses to Cranky on the Web (November 21 – 25)

  1. Regarding the proposed regulation of “BAG FEES”, I am for it 100%. Cranky, your argument is tilted to the bottom line of airlines and disregards Consumer Rights. Up to now the airlines have invented fees for everything possible at the expense of the Consumers. Just like the Big Banks. FACT: Charging for beverages brings in revenue. Water is a beverage. Airlines love fees. Fact: Many travelers want water or a free beverage without fees. Should access to, at a minimum, free water be Regulated? YES!

    Currently RYAN AIR charges for a drink of water and have been considering fees for using the toilets (they claim they need the revenue). Cranky needs to recognize that without Regulation there is no end to the imaginative list of revenue enhansing fees the airlines will add to its “NEED LIST”.

    I don’t think Cranky has thought out the consequences of his opinion. Two examples of REPUBLICAN initiated and defended DE-REGULATION are the Banking Industry and Big Oil. Any intelligent Consumer can see the continued abuses this has cultivated. Who pays for non-regulation of certain key industries? WE CONSUMERS DO!

    • As long as bag fees, drink fees, and other fees are clearly disclosed why should it be a problem?

      Making the comparison to banks is a red herring. For a business bank account the bank charges for each individual transaction, because businesses are so different with their checking needs. Some deposit lots of cash, some deposit lots of checks, some deposit one check, and make lots of withdraws, so the banks charge them for what they use.

      So a fair comparison would be if a restaurant had one entry fee, after which time you got whatever you wanted. (Yes, this is called a buffet.) But instead of a normal buffet there would be lots of cheap food, plus a really good filet mignon. This is stupid from the restaurant’s perspective because they’d have to charge a huge amount, even though half of their diners would just want some cheap mac and cheese. Why should the mac and cheese eaters subsidize the filet mignon eaters? Instead most restaurants charge by the plate, which is what airlines have decided to do.

      Just because its been done one way for many many years, doesn’t mean it has to continue to be done that way.

    • CF says:

      We’ll never agree on this, Consumer Mike. But of course, we already know that. ;)

      Cranky, your argument is tilted to the bottom line of airlines and disregards Consumer Rights.

      This has nothing to do with consumer rights. Fee disclosure is the true consumer rights issue here. As Nicholas Barnard notes, as long as those are properly disclosed then there isn’t a problem. It’s simply an airline strategy issue.

      FACT: Charging for beverages brings in revenue. Water is a beverage. Airlines love fees. Fact: Many travelers want water or a free beverage without fees. Should access to, at a minimum, free water be Regulated? YES!

      I agree with you on water for one reason. People aren’t allowed to bring their own, and it’s required to live. (Ok, you could live for a couple hours without water, but that’s not a good argument.) But the market figures this out. Remember when US Airways tried to charge for non-alcoholic drinks? The backlash was severe enough that they backed off. Airlines can’t simply invent fees for everything because people will balk if it’s stepping over the line. The airlines do respond.

      I think it’s funny that you try to blame Republicans here, when you’re actually using the same “slippery slope” argument that Republicans often trot out to shoot down an idea. . .

      Cranky needs to recognize that without Regulation there is no end to the imaginative list of revenue enhansing fees the airlines will add to its “NEED LIST”.

      Trying to scare people into thinking that “if we don’t regulate bag fees, the world is end” isn’t a great argument for me. It just introduces that “what if” scenario that assumes the worst happens. The reality is that it costs more to carry a checked bag than not, so if airlines want to charge people who do check a bag and not charge those who don’t, then that’s great.

  2. That was a loud ring. Has Justin stopped laughing :-)

  3. Ian L says:

    Nowadays, I carry on a bag that’s small enough to fit in the overhead of a CR7, plus a small laptop bag. Surprisingly, that’s all I need for 90% of the travelling that I do. So if, due to keeping checked bags as a line item, my fare is $2.50 lower due to the lack of a bag fee, I’m coming out ahead, since in most cases I’m flying an airline that charges $20 per checked bag (Frontier).

    If you don’t like checked bag fees, fly with someone who doesn’t have them, namely Southwest (2 checked bags free, though I’ve personally never used both bags while flying them), JetBlue (one free), Delta (with their credit card), united (with their credit card)…or fly enough to get free checked bags anyway. It costs more to process a checked back than not to process (and transport) one, so while the markup on a checked bag may be insane charging for one isn’t highway robbery.

    Speaking of Southwest, compare fares between them and some airline that charges for checked bags sometime. In some cases Southwest will be the same for the same flight, while in others they’ll cost less or more. In a surprising number of instances, that “more” eclipses the amount you’d pay to check a bag elsewhere. Go figure…

  4. A says:

    I’m going to lobby my senators to introduce legislation that would require airlines to bring back meal service in Y on all flights longer than 15 minutes.

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