Are we to blame for new airline fees?

Marketplace Staff Apr 9, 2010
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Are we to blame for new airline fees?

Marketplace Staff Apr 9, 2010
HTML EMBED:
COPY

TEXT OF STORY

Tess Vigeland: One more bit of tax madness. OK, it’s not technically a tax. But did you hear the latest in airline fee hijinx? On Tuesday, Spirit Airlines decided it would be a simply terrific idea to also charge for carry-ons. Anything you put in the overhead bin? 45 bucks, please.

Webster O’Brien, an airline consultant at SH&E, says this is just another step in the evolution of air travel.

Webster O’Brien: It’s very much the difference between a prix fixe menu and something that’s a la carte, where the consumer needs to choose what they want to pay for and identify what it is that’s a value to them.

Right — and of course, luggage is always option when you travel long distances by airplane.

And then there’s Ireland’s Ryanair, which on Wednesday instituted what Vanity Fair dubbed a “pay-per-pee system” on its flights. So, might want to think twice about that Starbucks before you board unless you’ve got spare coin for the loo.

Here’s the airline’s spokesman Stephen McNamara.

Stephen McNamara: If we get rid of two toilets off the aircraft, we can put in an extra six seats. And thereby increase the number of passengers and reduce the overhead cost per passenger, which will ultimately lead to lower fares.

And there’s where we get to the essence of ridiculousness in all these fees. We’re paying extra for blankets, baggage and bathrooms — because we’re obsessed with lower fares. Maybe we’re the problem.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.