Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Airline Fees Confound on Purpose; Just Raise Rates Already!

Air travelers are getting hammered by the airlines with every sort of added fee that one can imagine. Extra fees for baggage, extra fees for changing your ticket, fees to use pillows, blankets, food…the list goes on. It’s nearly impossible for anyone to determine the best rate for any trip via airline.

That’s the idea.

Airlines use the excuse that they need to add these fees to be profitable. In my opinion, that has little to do with it. If maintaining profitability was the reason for the added fees,  wouldn't it be easier for the airlines to just raise rates to achieve the desired profit margin and quote an all-encompassing amount including a basic list of services? But no, they don’t want to do that. It would make it too easy for anyone to compare airlines and see who had the best fare for any given trip.

The airlines must think that consumers are stupid and don’t notice their air fare sleight of hand. And maybe some people ARE stupid, because many continue to fly and fall victim to the airlines charging them extra for every little thing.

All the airlines should offer a tiered rate system, so anyone can generate a price for their air travel based on their needs. It would be helpful to have a simple program which builds a rate based on the destination, plus number of carry-ons and/or suitcases, and amenities needed. The airlines can charge whatever they want for any segment, but there should be a bottom line price that a person can compare to other airlines.

I wouldn’t hold my breath for the airlines to come together to make any sense of this. After all, it’s in their advantage to continue to confound travelers.

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