In the past month I have been across the country a couple of times to California. And have noticed some changes (I have not flown in the US for over a year, outside the US more than in the US.)
First off let me start with US Airways. They charge for EVERYTHING now. Check a bag, $15. Check 2 bags $40, check 3 bags $140. So naturally everyone tries to back as much as they can in to their carryon bags now. Which leaves less and less room in the overhead bins. So now assume that every one on a Airbus A320 checks one bag that will give them $318 more than they had before. Now doesn’t seem like that big of a deal on money wise, the probably burn up that much in fuel just taxing to the runway and the inital take off (approximatly 2 barrels of Jet A fuel). The one that gets me is that they started charging $2 for softdrinks and water on their flights. This is supposed to be one of their money generating ideas too for getting money for fuel. How cool is that, if every one on the plane did buy a single drink they would only make $162. Likely again to be burned off of the taxi from the runway. The funny thing about this is that now that they have started charging for beverages, they are probably using more fuel now than they did before.. Some people may ask why, but it is simple. If you are like me, once they started doing this I started taking a couple of 24oz bottles of water/soda on the flight with me. (You can’t go for 6 hours with out a drink..) So now if everyone is like me and does the same (some don’t but if they all did) you would now have an extra 468.4 pounds of weight on the plane. That is in addition to the soda/beverages they already pack (approx 234 pounds, 2 x 12oz cans per person estimate) that no one is going to buy.
It seems to me that it would be cheaper for them not to allow people to bring drinks on board and give the free drinks, than it would be for them to allow people to bring stuff on board and stock stuff that no one is going to use.
Now I see today that United is going to start doubling its fee for a second checked bag from $25 to $50 starting tomorrow for flights after November 1. This is only going to encourage people to try and stuff more and more in to their first checked bag. What is even more crazy is that you could conceivably pay more for your luggage to travel than you are paying for your self. Especially if you have a family. There was a family of four in front of me the other day with at least 8 suitcases (2 per person) that they were checking. On USAir that would be $160 just for your luggage to travel. If it was United, it would be $260.
I guess gone are the days of the “free” ammentities of air travel, free checked bags, free drinks, free food, free snacks.. At least for the airlines I have to fly.