Passengers say they miss luggage-inclusive fares the most

It’s been more than two years since most major airlines “unbundled” their fares and began charging passengers for the first checked bag. And although air travelers are now paying more for their luggage than ever — $2.7 billion last year, compared with just $1.1 billion in 2008 — they are deeply unhappy about it, according to a new poll.

A survey of more than 1,000 travelers by the Consumer Travel Alliance suggests air travelers are more upset about the checked luggage charges than any other airline fee. Asked what they missed the most about air travel, 56 percent said it was the ability to check their first bag without paying extra. Roughly 20 percent said they missed meals, and slightly fewer — 19 percent — missed the ability to make a confirmed seat reservation. About five percent of respondents missed the free pillows and blankets.

“It’s almost impossible for the casual traveler to go without luggage, or even the road warriors who have to stay over several nights,” says Robin Edelston, a frequent traveler from Cos Cob, Conn. “And charging for checked luggage encourages people to cram stuff into the overhead bins when the airlines should be encouraging people to stow it in cargo.”
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Are airfares on a rollercoaster, or are they actually climbing?


This chart, which comes to us courtesy of the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, is quite revealing. And at the same time, misleading.

It shows how volatile airfares have been during the last 15 years. It is also exhibit “A” for the now-profitable legacy carriers when they cry for tax breaks, government loans or try to justify one of their many new fees.

Point taken. It’s a competitive industry, as suggested by this data. Well, kinda. Airfares don’t tell the whole story.
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Farelogix CEO: If government interferes with fare transparency, “all sides will suffer”

Today is Mad as Hell About Hidden Fees Day. Full disclosure: I co-founded one of the organizations that created this event, so I have a horse in this race.

I’m also something of a contrarian. And one thing I’ve noticed is that, apart from a few soundbites, the airline position on fees hasn’t been fully articulated.
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When it comes to airfares, you get what you pay for

Here’s a fascinating graphic from our friend Bob Herbst, who shares a few numbers about airline ticket prices that might make you wish for the good ol’ pre-deregulation days, when airlines competed on service, not price.

During the last two decades, Amtrak’s average passenger revenue per mile is up 125 percent, and commuter rail revenues have jumped a respectable 45 percent.

Meanwhile, airlines are down nearly 10 percent.

Airfares haven’t even kept up with inflation.
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