Back in August, I wrote a post titled “What Other Fees Can Airlines Charge?” Well, as several alert readers pointed out, The Onion has the ultimate answer.
When it comes to airlines’ pricing power, the good news is that the economic meltdown has slashed the cost of fuel and should lead to lower costs as current fuel contracts expire. The bad news is that the economic meltdown means fewer people want to fly. I think we’ll see some lower fares, and even lower fees. While charging customers extra to check bags makes sense at a certain economic level, it hits price sensitive leisure travelers harder than business travelers, pushing them to airlines like Southwest, which proudly advertises its “No Hidden Fee Zones”. While the major carriers make the bulk of their profit on business fliers, they still need the incremental revenue from leisure travelers to be in the black.