It is a tough economy and with record fuel prices, everyone is cutting back. In the last month or so we have seen the major airlines institute a $25 charge for checking a second bag. This will unfortunately add to the already crowded storage situation in coach class as people will bring more on board with them, use a larger suitcase and strain the baggage handler’s backs just a wee bit more.
Several months ago, Continental cut out the online booking bonus for buying your ticket online. Now American is joining in, ending their online booking bonus. 250 frequent flyer miles does not seem like many, but multiply that times the number of tickets sold online and the miles to be awarded just for that one feature is staggering.
Outstanding or unused frequent flyer miles are a liability on an airline’s books, and they sure don’t need more any more liabilities with the current cost of fuel. They have accomplished the original mission of having training and rewarding us for booking online as that percentage has increased dramatically. It costs an airline just pennies to book a ticket online and several $$$ to have an agent do it by phone or in person. Southwest Airlines has been a leader in online booking for years and also a profitable airline with the no frills approach.
I would expect to see all online booking bonuses gone within the next 6 months and the $25 second bag fee become standard procedure here in the US before the year is out. We can complain all we want, but it is the airlines show and they can run it the way they want. In Europe the baggage allowance is much smaller than here, so I’m not going to complain. But then again, I’m a carry on only kind of guy.