Monday, June 9, 2008

AIRLINES THINKING ABOUT PASSENGERS AS FREIGHT NOT CUSTOMERS

BLOOMBERG NEWS Imagine two scales at the airline ticket counter, one for your bags and one for you. The price of a ticket depends upon the weight of both. That may not be so far-fetched.

"You listen to the airline CEOs, and nothing is beyond their imagination," said David Castelveter, a spokesman for the Air Transport Association, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group. . .

He declined to say what any individual airline may be contemplating, including charging passengers based on weight.

With fuel costs almost tripling since 2000 -- and now accounting for as much as 40 percent of operating expenses at some carriers, according to the ATA -- airlines are cutting costs and raising revenue in ways that once were unthinkable.

U.S. Airways Group Inc. has eliminated snacks. Delta Air Lines Inc. is charging $25 for telephone reservations. AMR Corp.'s American Airlines last month became the first U.S. company to charge $15 for the first checked bag.

Even a cold drink may be harder to come by aloft.

Singapore Airlines Ltd. is "trying to eliminate unnecessary quantities of extra water" to save weight, Chief Executive Officer Chew Choon Seng said in an interview.

U.S. airlines reported combined first-quarter losses of $1.7 billion and crude oil almost doubled in a year to a record $133.17 a barrel on May 21. With those challenges, fares based on passenger weight may be a logical step, said Robert Mann, head of R.W. Mann & Co., an aviation consultant based in Port Washington, New York.

"If you look at the air-freight business, that's the way they've always done it," he said. "We're getting treated like air freight when we travel by airlines, anyway."

3 Comments:

At June 9, 2008 7:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The next time the airline industry needs a taxpayer bailout we should be clear that it only happens when the CEO heads roll. Too much excess baggage.

 
At June 10, 2008 9:36 AM, Anonymous Shashank Nigam said...

This is the ultimate insult. Something historically known as the Brand Experience has been left on the tarmac. I wonder when airline CEOs will realize that treating humans as humans will reap more benefits than treating them as freight. Creating a mesmerizing experiences often doesn't take a lot of effort or money, and can induce the customer to pay more for the comfort.

I long for the good old days to come back

 
At June 10, 2008 12:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No airline is considering charging passengers based on weight. The entire concept is pure fabrication and, by the way, everyone wishes for the "good old days". Further, there has never been a "taxpayer bailout" in the airline industry. You must be confusing that with the auto industry.

 

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