Score one for the people! US Airways announced yesterday that it’s reversing its decision to charge for non-alcoholic beverages aboard its flights. The airline had started charging for drinks, even water, in June of last year. At that time, it also announced charges for checked baggage and increased other fees.
Doug Parker, US Airways Chairman, announced yesterday:
“We are firmly committed to the a la carte model and believe it’s the right one for our business. It is also a work in progress – US Airways was the only large network carrier to charge for drinks and that put us at a disadvantage.”
What disadvantage is he referring to? Usually when an airline makes a change that impacts travelers negatively, it expcts the competition to to the same. It hapenned this way when American decided to charge for checking bags; it happened this way when Delta cut travel agent commissions; and it happens this way when they increase fares in a particular market. They hope the competition follows suit or that the public does not complain too much. When that doesn’t happen, they often back down and reverse the changes.
That’s why it’s important that us, as consumers, voice our opinions strongly when we don’t agree with the changes being made. If we don’t say anything, they stick. If we do, we have a chance. This is exactly what happened when United tried to charge for meals on international flights. Their letter specifically mentioned customer response as one of the reasons for backing out the charges.
If you’re tired of being nickel-and-dimed by the airlines, let them know. By the way, Southwest remains the only airline to not charge the fees added by the others last year. No fees for checking bags or for reserving by phone.
What do you think about all these charges?