An American Airlines Boeing 757 and Airbus A300 line up for take off at Miami International Airport
Airlines have to start getting pretty creative to come up with new fees to help increase their revenue. Even though I get frustrated to have to pay the fees myself, I at least understand why I am paying them. American has started charging a new fee and I am not sure if it is worth it.
Depending on the length of the flight, you can now pay anywhere from $19 to $39 to sit in the first few rows in economy and be one of the first ones to board. There is no question being one of the first to board to make sure you have room for your carry-ons and it is nice to get off the plane instead of waiting in the back for everyone else to. However, I am not sure if the added cost is worth it.
United has something similar called EconomyPlus, but at least when you pay more for those seats, you also get additional legroom. With United, you can purchase the seats at the time of booking, but with American’s Express Seats, they can only be purchased from a kiosk starting 24hrs before a flight to 50 minutes before take off.
Virasb Vahidi, Chief Commercial Officer for American Airlines states, “Express Seats highlights American’s focus on offering customers what they value most.” I am not sure if passengers really value paying more to sit in the front the most. However, I haven’t done the research and spoke with a lot of American passengers about it, which I assume American has and they got positive feedback. The nice thing for American is there is no need to change the layouts of their aircraft to make this work, which means it will be cheap to test and cheap to pull the plug if it doesn’t work out.
I love a good beer. At home, canned or bottled beer does alright, but when I am out I always get draft. Sometimes when I fly, I might have a beer and will make do it coming out of a can or bottle. However, All Nippon Airways (ANA) is taking it up a notch by providing draft beer on some of their flights.
Draft beer you would find at your local pub comes out of a keg, using highly pressurized carbon dioxide gas, which can’t be brought on board a plane. However, ANA worked with Hoshizaki Electric and successfully developed a beer dispenser made especially for in-flight use. Dry ice is used to keep the beer cold (and refreshing) during the flight.
Starting July 20th, passengers on domestic ANA flights will have the opportunity to try some draft beer. Let’s hope this catches on and more airlines will soon follow suit.
I constantly hear people say, “flying just isn’t the way it used to be.” Sure it isn’t, less food, more fees, but there are also lower fares. One service that we have seen a big decline in is food service. We have gone from getting a free meal to feeling lucky to have some free peanuts. Brett Snyder, who writes the blog CrankyFlier, took a look at the cost per passengers airlines spent in 1990 versus today and he found some pretty interesting things.
United Airlines ends up spending the most (probably from First Class) and Southwest ends up spending the least (is that a shocker?). I am actually kind of surprised that average costs haven’t decreased more since the 1990’s.
Pretty clever WiFi logo with the dots for the i's being the engines! Logo from Alaska Airlines.
Blogging about airlines adding WiFi to their fleet will never get old for me.
If you remember Alaska caused a bit of a stir after announcing they would be going with Gogo Inglight Internet service instead of Row44, which they were testing. One of the benefits of Gogo is it can be quickly installed onto an aircraft. Alaska already has six planes internet enabled and hopes to have all Boeing 737-800’s and 900’s equipped with WiFi by the end of the Summer. Their entire fleet should be setup by the end of the year. Like other airlines, Alaska will have a WiFi logo by the main cabin door and information in the seat back pocket next to you.
In a partnership with Alaska Airline’s Visa credit card, they are offering the WiFi for free until July 31, 2010. After July 31st northbound flights from Portland and Seattle to Alaska will remain free, until GoGo Inflight is able to improve on cell reception in Alaska. After the free period, prices on other flights will range from $5 to $13 depending on the time and device you want to use.
When I was a young kid I remember seeing this commercial on TV. With all the talk about all these extra fees and maybe having to pay for bathrooms, I couldn’t help but think of this classic commercial. Thanks to YouTube, I was able to track it down and wanted to share. Little did the ad agency know how real this might become.
This also shows that is Ryanair will really do this (I don’t think they will), they need to make sure the doors take credit cards!