Sunday, January 4, 2009

US Airways- Short term vs Long term decisions


I went home for winter vacation, flying back to the east for winter vacation. I bought my roundtrip ticket from sfo to phl for $400. US Airways now charge $15 for one checked back, and $25 for the second checked back. I decided to save some money and just carry on my luggage. Through security you are not allowed to bring any liquids, so carrying any kind of drink through to the airport or plane, is out of the question. We had a 6 hour flight, to go coast to coast. Now, I did hear of US Airway's new policy of charging for soft drinks on the plane, which was dissapointing, but I did not realize their full policy. US Airways now also charges for WATER. For the 6 hour flight the airliner had also taken off their video equipment to save weight. So for 6 hours no entertainment, being squished in economy class, with not a drop of water to drink...lovely. It used to be that planes would carry large jugs of water and just fill each person who requested a glass. Now that they have switched to their policy of charging for water, they have switched to costlier and more wasteful individual bottles of water in which they sell for $2 on board. They do not even provide the tiny bags of pretzels anymore. So, what is left to do but for everyone aboard the plane to talk of the fact that the airliners now charge people for WATER?

Obviously, this was a decision by somewhere up on the US Air food chain to cut costs. But, in my perspective a move like this is deadly. When you could give customers water for no more than 25 cents additional per passenger, and calm their negative talk for 6 hours, wouldn't you? Even if those extra pennies were added to the ticket, it would make more sense. Instead, flying has turned from a luxury to an inconvenience, where you are no longer 'guests' of an airline, but flying dollars.

I wrote to the airline to hear their opinion on the matter:

I have been flying usair for years, and each time I fly I almost always question why I have chosen this carrier.

Most recently, I am extremely frustrated by the fact that the airline now charges for WATER. I had a 6 hour flight, you are not allowed to bring water through security, each passenger pays good money for their ticket, and still we need to pay for water? So, for the whole flight, every one on the plane has a great conversation piece, how upset they are by the fact that we are on a long flight, with no more movies, paying for a window or aisle seat, the price of tickets, and now we are not even being given water to drink. Even if 25 cents were added on to the beginning fare, that would make more sense then charging 2 dollars per bottle on the plane. If someone becomes dehydrated and decides to sue, or drinks from the bathroom water and gets sick, it'll be an even more negative financial impact.

I've already been hearing of people that will not be flying usair again because of their lack of concern for their customers.

This is in no way a smart move for the future of the company. Short term it may help the books, but long term it will only hurt. I hope usair will consider changing this policy.

Ryan Air may charge for everything, and have ads on their planes (just as you are now doing)..but at least their ticket prices are a true reflection of the cost savings that work for the company AND consumer.

Ryan Air may charge for everything, and have ads on their planes (just as you are now doing)..but at least their ticket prices are a true reflection of the cost savings that work for the company AND consumer.
Here is US Airway's response:

Thank you for caring enough to take the time to write regarding our
beverage fee. As you are aware, airlines are now finding it necessary
to charge for services and items that were previously considered a part
of the ticketing fee. Our per passenger average round trip fuel cost
alone is nearly $300. In order to keep our fares reasonably priced, we
have opted to charge for services, such as food, drinks, and bag fees.
Thus passengers have a choice in what they want to receive. Water is
given in emergency situations, such as the need to take medication, etc.


As we are always interested in the opinions of our passengers, your
comments and concerns have been documented and will be shared in a
written report to our executive management team. This report is a
capsulated record of all passengers' concerns regarding our policies and
procedures.

We appreciate the opportunity to address your concerns and hope you
continue to choose US Airways as your preferred carrier.

Sincerely,

Marilyn Williams
US Airways Customer Relations
Corporate Office
It'll be interesting to see the long and short term effects of this policy. I predict a short term financial increase, long term financial decrease and customer satisfaction decrease.

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