A Letter to U.S. Airways: Flying the Corporate Skies

Dear U.S. Airways:

I always sleep on planes. I was just about to enter dreamland on my most recent airplane trip, when the flight attendant made an announcement. She said passengers could purchase sodas and water for $2 each or snack boxes for $5. I wasn’t hungry or thirsty, but now I was awake.

When did a bag with five peanuts in it become worth $5? Those peanuts had better be amazing. And don’t even get me started on the $15 you would’ve made me pay if I had checked my duffel bag under the plane.

I understand that over the summer gas prices soared to record highs, raising your expenses. Yet, Copa Airlines (Panama's national carrier) did not add on any of these charges when I flew with them over the summer. Not only did Copa serve me beverages and check my bags for free, but they also served me an actual meal that didn’t leave my stomach growling. Meal included in my ticket price, by the way.

I don’t understand how Copa provided these services despite record high gas prices, but you cannot manage them now that fuel costs are at their lowest in years. If your expenses are still that high, why not add it to the price of the flight? Like most consumers, I’m far less likely to notice a $5 difference in a $250 plane ticket than a $5 charge for something that used to be complimentary.

Customers are won and lost in the details. I’m just glad that I still managed to get my nap in.

Your disappointed customer,

Suzie Raven

(The photo was taken at Washington's National Airport this summer; the photo is by lemoncat1 via Flickr, using a Creative Commons license.)

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restaurantrefugee said...

I don't want to give any airline an excuse for this type of money grab. At the same time, it bears mentioning that almost all airlines bought contracts worth several months even a years worth of oil. Back when prices passed $100/barrel many airlines - thinking that prices were likely to continue to rise for the foreseeable future - bought contracts to lock-in that price. Despite the fact prices have fallen precipitously, airlines are still flying on fuel that they purchased when prices were in the triple digit range.

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