Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Airlines Jacking Up Fares

Now that it has been satisfactorily demonstrated that people will put up with just about anything, domestic airlines are jacking up fares -- over and above the recently announced $20 roundtrip surcharge for travel during the upcoming peak holiday seasons.

Airlines clearly figure that demand might soon exceed supply, with overall capacity down sharply (there are 21 percent fewer domestic seats flying this October than in October 2000, according to the airline schedule data firm OAG). Unclear is whether they're right about the demand, or whether a fair number of former passengers have abandoned or sharply cut back on air travel altogether, fed up as they are with the hassles.

As usual, the intrepid Rick Seaney at is on the case.

Here's his report this afternoon:

"Airlines Hiking Domestic Airfares by up to $16 Roundtrip

"Yesterday our proprietary airfare processing system detected an unusually large number of domestic U.S. city pairs with an increase of up to $16 roundtrip -- a hike initiated by American Airlines.

"Continental and Southwest started matching late last night, and hours ago Delta/Northwest, United and US Airways began matching -- rounding out the legacy airlines.

"Most airfare-hike attempts occur late in the week, and either “stick” or “fizzle” over the weekend as carriers decide whether or not to match. It is unusual to see an airfare hike early in the week, which is typically reserved for discounting and sales.

"We contacted American Airlines about the airfare hike attempt and they confirmed the mileage based domestic airfare increase at the following levels:

0-450 miles $3ow/$6rt

451-750 miles $5ow/$10rt

751+ miles $8ow/$16r

"A spokesperson for Southwest Airlines further notes they have matched with at a lower level than the legacy airlines (with no increase on their cheapest “fun fares”):

0-450 miles $2ow/$4rt

451-750 miles $3ow/$6rt

751+ miles $5ow/$10rt

"This hike is layered on top a targeted peak holiday surcharge of $10 each way over the past two weeks and appears to be well on its way to “sticking” as the fourth increase of 2009 – all four occurring since June (compared to 15 total in 2008 and 17 in 2007)."


1 comment:

ChefNick said...

I understand the airlines have to maintain the bottom line. Just like taxi fares are going up because of the price of fuel, it just seems to me that any excuse is a good enough excuse to raise a fare. I think the term is "gouging," but I'm not so sure.

But shouldn't it be "Survival Of The Fittest?"

They just have to improve the business model, don't they? For example, why should I pay $5 IN THE AIRPLANE for crap food that comes from fast-food companies, with dollars that are not necessarily in the same currency as the airline I'm on, and be expected to pay with EXACT CHANGE?

I know it's a small thing, but when they're nickel-and-diming you for pillows and blankets on their midget-sized seats, you'd think the higher-ups would think of these things.

And that would NOT be requiring you to GO ONLINE, so as to avoid any possible interaction with a real person, to order your meal in advance.

Fuck, dudes, you can save your meals. Why don't you just print out an attractive menu that I can peruse at the check-in counter, then pay for with my credit card (or cash!) and we do it all in advance while I check in? That way, your systems all in place, you wire it to the cabin crew, just like you do for, say, Kosher meals, and all they have to do is assemble it. No cash exchanging hands. No inefficient waste of time for cabin crew.

But NOOOO. Fuck, there are so many things you could do to improve the quality of flying without the knee-jerk cost-cutting.

I'm probably looking at $6000 to fly to Japan from Montreal to pick up my 8-year old son for Christmas and deliver him back. What are you doing for my $6000? What exactly are the services you are providing except from getting me from Point A to B? In case you didn't realise, $6000 is a LOT OF MONEY. I could go on a cruise to Hawaii for a week for that, and you're charging me that just for a bus ride in the sky with no pillow, blanket, and fast food?

No wonder you're filing Chapter 11, dudes.

Get a fucking clue, willya?