Airlines’ petty business practices

I have no issue with having to pay for my eats on a plane. But the trend among the US airlines to make travelers pay extra for  your seat preference – window or aisle – a bottle of water, earphone,  head cushion, blanket and things sounds petty, doesn’t it.  An article in The New York Times says it all in its headline –   At Least the Airsickness Bags Are Free.

An airline in the US  that made a PR song-and-dance of being the first to have installed seat-front TV on domestic flights would now like you to pay a dollar for the earphone. Some other airlines plan to offer wireless internet connection for 10 to 13 dollars a flight, they say. There appears no appeal against this. Air travelers can crib, write to newspapers, and blog all they want. The airlines offer a blanket reason – rising jet fuel price.

An expert on consumer behavior, Prof. Banwari Mittal, is quoted as saying that  passenger helplessness is widespread – ‘consumers will get angry when they find a target of retribution, which is a specific company or a person; but when it’s the macro environment, there is nothing to get angry at’.

Referring to their $7 charge for a pillow and blanket on their flights  JetBlue chief executive David Barger is reported to have told Larry King on CNN, “it’s a nice way to offer an amenity to our customers”. It would have been nice, Mr Barger, if the amenity comes without a price tag. Sensing a  seven-dollar charge may be on the stiff side the JetBlue chief noted that in-flight pillow hire came with a $5 coupon for a purchase at Bed Bath & Beyond. So the net cost for the hire was really just $2.

Really, Mr Barger?  What, if you don’t really need anything from B B &B. You may still end up shopping there, paying  20 dollars for a $25 item that you didn’t need in the first place. I wonder what this blanket & beyond offer has to do with rising jet fuel cost..



3 Responses

  1. American marketers! They will kick you on the butt and expect you to be grateful for the opportunity of getting a free shoe impression. And the American customers will oblige by queuing up.

  2. Flying is no longer the delight it used to be.

    And not fair to charge for water – especially when you consider you can’t even take your own water with you.

  3. Trying to make good in times of money crunch and inflation…!

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