Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Lucre for Luggage?

In a frontpage article today, the Detroit News reports that Northwest Airlines will soon begin charging non-elite customers for exit row seats and seats located at the front of the plane. The cost? $15 each way, if they are available. Elite customers will continue to enjoy priority access to these seats, at least for now.

More surprising, the article alleges that in the near future Northwest and other Airlines will begin charging an extra fee for checked baggage. After that, customers may face charges for on-board sodas, water, pretzels and peanuts. These cutbacks stem from competitive pressure applied by budget airlines like Southwest and JetBlue. Even these latter airlines are beginning to experience financial woes. JetBlue, as Patrick pointed out in an earlier post, predicts a loss for the current budget year, and yesterday Southwest hiked its one-way fares (see AP article) for the second time this year due to rising fuel costs. Where will this all end? Probably in slightly higher fares than we've become accustomed to and in significantly worse service.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Patrick said...

Ben,

Do you approve of this measure? Or, rather, would you prefer to have the option of paying for a slightly better seat and, thus, increasing the chance that you could get it if you wanted it?

I'm all for SOME airlines charging more for slightly better seats--more differentiation in airline service should help innovation and improve customer choice.

9:49 AM  

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