Category Archives: News

An Interview with Richard Anderson

A local television station in the Atlanta area interviewed Richard Anderson, the chief executive officer of Delta Air Lines, about the eventual proliferation of aircraft by Southwest Airlines at the international airport in Atlanta, airfares, unions — and fees:

“Are you contemplating any changes in your policies especially when it comes to fees and change fees and whatever, in order to meet this competition head on?” Bill Liss of WXIA-TV asked.

“All you need to do is sign up for an American Express SkyMiles card, and all your bags are free,” Anderson said.

“What happens if I don’t sign up?” Liss asked.

“Well just sign up, and so we don’t have to talk about it,” Anderson said.

“So you don’t necessarily see any changes in your bag fee or changes in change fees or anything, simply because Southwest is coming in?” Liss asked.

“We make those decisions unilaterally, so normally I would not speak about fares or pricing issues in the future,” Anderson said.

That means, at least for now, no American Express SkyMiles Card — pay the baggage fee. Change your flight and expect a fee.


Everybody Hates Airline Fees…Right?

The conventional wisdom that airline fees are reviled by travelers due to the apparently opprobrious conduct of airlines might actually be erroneous, according to an article in the New York Times by Joe Sharkey. Rather, business travelers might possibly see ancillary fees as a way to customize a trip to their needs.

It is noted in the article that “most travel managers have no problem with paying for” ancillary fees for extra products and services such as an aisle seat with extra legroom — “they would just like to have a better idea of what it actually costs, in advance.”

Is the only ancillary fee about which leisure travelers care is baggage fees, as the article possibly implies?

Air Asia Offers Cut-Price, Low-Frills Service to Christchurch, New Zealand

Air Asia offers airfare relief to those based on the South Island of New Zealand — but that does not include ancillary fees being charged for extra products and services such as food and seat selection.

Will Air Asia help to lower airfares — and, ultimately, the true price of air travel — to those in New Zealand?

Congress Wants Transparency Regarding Airline Fees

While the following video is a few months old, most of the information being discussed pertaining to frustration amongst airline passengers regarding ancillary fees is still pertinent:

Higher Car Rental Fees Based on Where You Live?!?

You might be paying more in ancillary fees for your rental car based solely on where you live.

In New York City, for example, car rental companies Dollar and Thrifty charge an additional $55.00 per day for Brooklyn residents, $53.00 per day for Bronx residents, and $11.00 for the residents of Queens — all to rent the same exact vehicle, according to an article written by Tara MacIsaac of The Epoch Times.

An unidentified employee of Dollar claimed that the charges are necessary “due to the cost of insurance and the things that happen in those boroughs.”

Manhattan residents reportedly enjoy lower insurance rates because they use their vehicles less frequently than residents of the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens, where claims also show increased theft and accidents compared to other boroughs.

One Brooklynite complained that this particular fee was not included in the car rental rate quote found on the Internet and “was slapped with this extra fee when it came time to pay.”

Lawmakers are urging New Yorkers to boycott Dollar and Thrifty for this rental practice, which other car rental companies have already abandoned.

Should GDS Companies Be Forced to Bargain for Access to New Ancillary Services?

According to an article published in Air Transport World magazine, representatives of Delta Air Lines told the United States Department of Transportation that it is considering the global distribution system, or GDS, companies as a distribution channel for ancillary services and expects to negotiate and bargain with them for access, and that the primary capability of the global distribution system companies is to distribute air travel based on price and schedule.

American Airlines has already threatened to end its partnership with Orbitz, which is 48% owned by Atlanta-based Travelport, a company which owns the Worldspan, Galileo and THOR global distribution systems. However, Travelport won a restraining order against the withdrawal from Orbitz by American Airlines.

The battle between the global distribution system companies and the airlines is far from over, with no clear winner as of yet.

Is it possible that ancillary fees could have a role in eventually changing the landscape of access to purchasing airline travel?

Airline Security Fees to Increase?

The Transportation Security Administration, or TSA — already under public scrutiny for implementing questionable and invasive airport security screening procedures with the enhanced pat-down policy if one declines being screened by a full-body scanner — is now considering requesting airline passengers to pay for the privilege, according to this article in Bloomberg Businessweek written by John Hughes and Jeff Bliss, in the form of an increase in airline security fees in the United States.

Here is a quote from the article:

An increase in U.S. airline security fees is among “strong possibilities” being considered to pay for higher costs of detecting terrorist threats, the Transportation Security Administration chief said.

“There are some different fees being discussed,” John Pistole, who leads the agency, said in an interview today at Bloomberg’s office in Washington. The $2.50-a-passenger fee now added to ticket prices is “obviously a significant source of revenue for providing security services. That is one of those strong possibilities.”

Please post a comment with your thoughts…