Several items of interest today...
Spirit Airlines says it's going to start charging a fee for carry-on bags. Yes, you read right. The airline plans to charge $45 for each piece of carry-on luggage, starting in August. Let's pause for a moment to let the steam blow out your ears...
Spirit was savaged this morning on the network news programs, with anchors making one disparaging remark after another. And, well, who can blame them? I suspect they spoke for anyone who flies. We all understand that the airlines need to make money, but at what point will they get serious about CUSTOMER SERVICE? When will they start making the customer a priority?
Will other airlines follow Spirit's lead? Depends on how much heat Spirit gets. If it's minimal, the other airlines will probably follow.
Meanwhile, European airline Ryanair is reportedly working on a scheme to charge customers for using the lavatory. That's leading to such headlines as, "The Ultimate Airline Insult: Pay to Pee!"
The business press has been busy the last couple of weeks reporting on increased revenue for domestic airlines. It's missing the flip side of the story: "Solid Worldwide Airline Growth Trends Continue in April, with the Exception of North America." The report from OAG contines, "All regions, except North America, continue to show solid growth in capacity and frequency."
Aviation analyst Mike Boyd reinforces the point:
"...the 3Q will be strong for the US airline industry because they are not adding capacity. Plus, most have safety valves to pull down capacity if the recession deepens (yes, deepens - who's kidding who? with 9.7% unemployment, close to 20% under-employment, higher taxes in the wind, jive-time "job creation" stats that are bulked out with census workers, and $85+ oil, this isn't a robust picture of the future. Any credible passenger forecast must consider these factors.)
No doubt about it, the aviation news today is not warm and fuzzy.