Hei Lun Chan, in response to American Airlines’ decision to charge $15 per checked bag starting June 15:
They should have just raised prices by $15 then announce a ”$15 off if you don’t check any bags!!!” special.
The ultimate irony is that if they’d just raised each-way fares by $15, it would simply be another “the sky is falling because airfares are finally catching up to inflation for the first time since deregulation” story, but now American is cast in the role of being this side of the pond’s version of notorious buried-fee carrier Ryanair, which apparently combines Southwest’s low-cost business model with the customer service standards of your local DMV branch, at least until another of American’s dwindling band of competitors comes up with an even more boneheaded PR move like adding a cash-only “boarding fee” for use of the jetway to access the aircraft.
Given the ongoing fee-fest at the airlines, somehow trying to keep my elite status on Northwest for 2009 doesn’t seem quite so useless—although given that the only scheduled carriers that can take me anywhere other than Las Vegas from Laredo are American and Continental and driving to San Antonio to save time by avoiding a connection only works for places you can fly non-stop from San Antonio, much of that value is predicated on Continental continuing to honor Northwest status in 2009, which given the potential Northwest-Delta merger seems decidedly uncertain at present.
American Airlines’ pathetic campaign to protect its monopolistic practices in Dallas-Fort Worth has reached a new low with this jaw-droppingly asinine press release that actually accuses Southwest of monopolistic behavior.
On the heels of two Dallas-area congressmen introducing legislation to repeal the Wright Amendment and evidence that DFW Airport tried to cover up findings by its own consultant that ending Wright would lower air fares, DFW board members like Dallas’ mayor are even recognizing that Wright’s days are numbered—but American still isn’t budging. (þ: Xrlq and Vance of Begging to Differ)
The Wright Amendment is back in the news, as Southwest Airlines (my new favorite carrier—$220 round-trip tickets from JAN to RDU will give you the warm fuzzies, as will non-stop flights to my favorite city in North America) is stepping up its lobbying effort to get the flight restrictions on Dallas’ Love Field repealed.
Vance of Begging to Differ links a study that shows Dallas has the highest airfares of any major U.S. city, and the lack of competition with American Airlines at DFW, particularly now that Delta has shut down its Dallas hub due to its financial problems, is pretty clearly the cause.
American may have also dug itself a bit of a hole in trying to protect its fortress hub at DFW: the Kansas City Star reports that American reneged on promises it made Missouri lawmakers when it took over TWA, and the new chairman of the Transportation Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee is none other than Kit Bond of Missouri.
Bryan at Arguing with Signposts talks about the asinine Wright Amendment, a provision of federal law that prohibits Southwest Airlines from serving most of the United States for passengers headed to or from Dallas’ Love Field. There’s more details on the back-and-forth lobbying here and here (registration required for both), and background on the Wright amendment in this Virginia Postrel op-ed; I have to say it’s downright odd (for me, at least) to be in the position of agreeing with Trent Lott’s position on an issue.