5 comments on “Cranky on the Web: Will Change Fees Ever Return?

  1. Change fees will (unfortunately) return as soon as Wall Street analysts put enough pressure on airlines to not “leave money on the table”. I can’t adequately express my disdain for these people, who have screwed up some of the great customer service experiences of all times. Credit goes to Southwest for ignoring them, for the most part.

    1. Change fees will (unfortunately) return as soon as Wall Street analysts put enough pressure on airlines to not “leave money on the table”.

      What’s next… ?airport terminal entry fees, jet bridge usage fees, oxygen mask usage fees?

  2. There is a reason why I switched the majority of my domestic flying to Southwest. The change fees were beyond ridiculous. A $350 change fee PLUS a change in airfare? ?. Southwest does it right and is one of many reasons why they now carry more domestic passengers than any other airline.

    1. Completely agree, but for “smaller” airlines (SW is also the largest in the world at this moment) with less cash and market cap, ignoring the analysts is tougher, much tougher. Cranky Flier wrote a piece the other day about the current atmosphere of blaming airlines for back stock, etc. and he’s dead on. If they didn’t, they would suddenly see their analysts shift from “Buy” to “Hold” or worse from “Hold” to “Sell”… now all of a sudden you’re bailing water as fast as you can. My favorite airline held off on bag fees (for instance) as long as they were allowed, and during that time their stock could barely nudge double digits./

      Unlike Brett, I’m not an expert on the industry, although I worked on the front lines for a couple of decades with a couple of airlines, but my own, decidedly non-expert opinion is that if the market would encourage investment in solid products, companies with great cultures, great service from top to bottom, instead of talking on every call about “leaving cash on the table” the market would be more value based, less prone to bubbling, and companies could strive to be great, rather than striving to be ATM’s with wings. I completely understand that this is my own 1 cent, and that economics is not simple, and that Keynes and Veblein (et al.) are long dead. But from everything I’ve experienced in 68 years, the “magic hand” that guides the economies not only of airlines but of every business in our country has gotten too used to having a magic Rolex on its magic wrist. Value is not about wringing every nickle out of every customer. It’s about making it shrewd business for an employee to care about her/his company, his/her colleagues, her/his customers. I’ve lived in a culture like that, and lived through the constant pressure of living up to “gotta get that nickle on the table” (not from our team but from analysts). And to be fair, we had leadership that told us on the front line to block that external pressure out and concentrate on our crews and our customers. I miss that culture every day since I retired.

  3. With United, they have broken so many hub-hub connections (i.e. DEN-IAH) that you can hardly “get there from here” without 3 connections.

    Also, charging $600-$900 RT is not encouraging me to “invest” in travel either.

    I’m very sympathetic to their plight, but having booked 3 trips this summer (2 groups), I can tell you it took me 72 min on the phone to get a rebooking after United cancelled/changed the schedule. They were more willing to offer a refund of the deposits than the reroute….

    Some days you just wonder.

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