Thursday, May 22, 2008

Please Explain This

Travelers furious over American Airlines' plans to charge $15 fee for one checked bag
By Carol Pucci
Seattle Times travel writer

First went the free meals, pillows, blankets and peanuts. Then came the extra fees for booking over the phone, flying your pet and checking a second bag.

Now, for the first time, a major U.S. airline says it will begin charging many passengers to check even one bag, a move that's angered customers amid predictions that it will spread to other carriers and cause havoc during the peak summer-travel season.

Hit hard with record-high fuel costs and an aging, gas-guzzling fleet, American Airlines, the nation's largest carrier, said Wednesday it will begin charging some domestic economy-class passengers $15 each way for the first checked bag. "LINK"

I understand that fuel costs are increasing and I also know that what I pay for a plane ticket has increased as well over the last few years.

Butt how does paying $15.00 for a checked piece of luggage help defray the fuel cost?

I can carry my bag on and place in the nice overhead for free and not help offset the fuel cost. The bag is still on the same plane, the plane still weighs the same, the plane will still use the same amount of fuel please explain how this make sense. I am not a very smart man so I'm sure that I'm just overlooking something.


Devon said...

Your question is common among the travelling public. I am a certified pilot, with a major carrier, and what many people fail to realize is that airlines are paying the same price for petrol as you are (although Jet-A/kerosene is at $8/gallon unnegotiated). The fairs that you paid for your flight were most likely weeks or months ago, when fuel prices were lower. The more weight there is in an airplane the more fuel it burns. This $15 baggage fee, is an extension of a fuel surcharge. Most people don't know that for the average airliner to go from New York to LA uses about 5,000 gallons for about 150 people. Now take something like a 747 on a route from LA to Sydney that will take up to 55,000 Gallons! $23,750, and $261,250 to fill-up respectively. Airlines are cutting routes, and service to improve RASM (revenue per available seat mile), however it's just not enough. Also combine this with record low airfare prices for the last 7 years or so. In the 1960's and '70's there was a similar issue. Boeing responeded with the 747, large able to carry many people with low RASM. Again both Boeing and Airbus are responding with more efficient aircraft, the 787 Dreamliner, and A350 XWB respectively. However they cannot design them fast enough. In the end it comes down to would you rather forgo the $15 baggage fee, and forgo basic maintenance on the aircraft? And in this economy William Boeing's dream of everyone being able to afford to fly is just not possible.

Devon said...

I hope I sufficiently answered your question.

Devon said...

I got too carried away, and forgot, that the airlines now only allow 1 carry-on, it would only affect those planning on travelling with more than one bag per person.