Thursday, December 30, 2010

Airlines, are they worth it?

 Let's face it, it has gotten very expensive to fly.  American Airlines increased rates by $20 after increasing them by $10 not two weeks ago.  All of the BIG airlines followed suit, only AirTran, Frontier, JetBlue and Southwest are holding out.  Bag fees, fees for soda and snacks, taxes, airport fees, etc...make transportation the most expensive part of any family vacation. All of this because of the highly volitile fuel prices caused by tightening of the world's oil supply. This will impact leisure travel greatly. Flights, cruises, trains and bus transportation costs will soar. Though we may not like it, fees due to a rise in fuel costs is understandable. BUT what about all the other fees? When did it become ok to charge us of the sodas that were once part of the experience. Why is there a huge charge when we need to change our itinerary? If we are not canceling and still spending the money with them why is there a charge? Yet, when they change our itinerary to something that is inconvenient for us we do not get a credit. We can not complain, because they know they have us hooked. Why do we pay more and get less leg room?

Now Continental Airlines customers can choose FareLock when booking reservations at and opt for a 72-hour ($5) or a seven-day hold($9). 72 Hour holds were free in the past, and still free with some airlines. Again another fee disguised as something that has been instituted for our own good, but isn't.

Fees are big business for the airlines. The Department of Transportation revealed that Delta Air Lines collected the most fees of any of the U.S. carriers at $1.26 billion so far this year. United/Continental was second with $922 million followed by $784 million collected by American. Even though Southwest does not charge for the first two checked bags, it still collected $22.5 million in fees for third bags and overweight bags.

I guess I am just tired of feeling like we have no choices with airlines. We live in Massachusetts and have chosen to drive to Florida the last three times we have gone. As a family of 5, we actually still save money driving down even with the high price of gas. We don't have to wait in an airport for two hours in each direction. We do not have to be treated like cattle herded into lines and then frisked like criminals. I have no problem with the new rules as I prefer to be safe. I just hate how people get treated. No need for it. I do not have to have a kid kicking the back of my seat, and the front seat in my face because the airline tried to squeeze two extra rows into the plane. I do not have to pay $2 for a .50 cent can of diet coke. My luggage will not go to Peru on vacation for a week and never get compensated. I will not have to rent a mini-van because I have my own.

I am not saying I will never fly, because I know I will, but I do not believe that airlines are the best option at times. Our last three drives to Florida have given us plenty of family time. We have stopped at places we would have never seen and enjoyed the actual trip. Sounds corny but we have some fun family times in those trips up and down the coast. Coming home is not as much fun, but neither is the flight home.

So, what is it you can't stand about flying anymore? What irritates you? What have you had enough of??  Let us know!

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Judy1229 said...

How about the airlines now charging to have your choice of seat? I prefer the window seat, I rarely ever get up during a flight, so I can settle in and not have to get up until we reach our destination. I have to pay for that convenience now on several airlines. One of the reasons I enjoy Southwest is the lack of all those extra fees, I don't mind the open seating option, I always manage to find a suitable seat.

Chuck B. said...

I used to like flying but don't look forward to it anymore. When the person in front of me leans back in their seat I get claustrophobic. I fly United as much as possible and use economy plus.It's worth the extra money.It seems like I always sit next to someone who is coughing or has screaming kids. The only fun part of flying is arriving at your destination.