Hey, I understand how hard it is to run an airline today. But that doesn't excuse the kind of thinking that ISN'T happening in the American Airlines war room. Their ham handed attempt to fleece a modest $15 per bag per flight will assuredly cause delays in boarding, consumers that will walk and a PR disaster.
But, hubris reigns supreme.
Hours after the announcement of the new first bag surcharge, I received my May edition of the American Airlines AAirmail. No mention of what has just been announced. Instead, I'm informed that "American Airlines is continuously working to improve your travel experience."
It also announces new introductory fares to Central Wisconsin.
OK...I live a couple hours from that airport. My question is...did every subscriber in the nation get this offer, or just those of us in Wisconsin? And, if it is the latter, don'tcha think I'd rather drive than have you nickel and dime me again (not to mention go through the hassle of security and being stuffed into a plane that is configured for 30% more passengers than it should be?
"Now, since nobody wants to pay an extra 15$, everyone is going to
want to bring their luggage aboard, overhead compartments are going to
jam up, people with giant luggage are going to clog up space and
passengers are going to get testy.
Of course the new rule doesn't apply to elites, but as several people
on the underground pointed out, it really affects everyone on the
aircraft. If the overhead compartments are full and the flight spends
an extra 15 minutes on the ground sorting out luggage issues and
appeasing passengers, the entire plane is late, right?"
Dead on...and why we'll need aggressive enforcement of Air Law 5.
Image of duct taped overhead bins (which is what will be needed) from Andy's Blog.
From the American Airlines website: "We are dedicated to making every flight you take with us something special."
Well done, Sparky. Your announcement yesterday that you will be charging for EVERY bag certainly qualifies. And, I bet your gate agents are just as excited as they await the shit-storm of abuse they'll be getting starting June 15th.
AA CEO Gerard J. Arpey said he expects the new fees will raise
several hundred million dollars, but that was the best estimate he
would give. Why? Cause you haven't thought this through? Cause you don't want somebody to challenge your math? Cause you think we're stupid enough to believe you?
He went on to say that the fees are
"an effort to get customers to pay for services they want."
Or that they expect.
Of course, I expect this kind of business acumen from these guys. But what are you gonna do with all those pretty signs you printed in March. Or yeah, print corrective stickers to go over the "First Bag Free" message.
There are three people that could become President of the United States. On Monday, one of them again showcased his unfortunate lack of understanding of the importance of the travel and tourism industry.
When asked by Roger Dow, Jonathan Tisch, Chicago Mayor Daley and others to support the creation of a Federal Tourism Policy, John McCain reportedly "listened intently." But, he only voiced support for upgrading the nation's air traffic control system.
Of course, he didn't have to do anything more than listen intently. He knows the travel and hospitality rarely votes in its self-interest.
We so need an independent candidate that understands the fiscal, social and international branding importance of tourism.
At an industry conference the other day, talking with a fellow destination marketing pro, when the conversation turned to the recent attempts to rebrand legacy hotel chains. When we talked about the oh-so subtle logo change for Days Inn last year, he quipped, "Well, at least Motel 6 is sticking to their retro look."
Ummm, I guess not.
This just in from the Motel 6 mothership: "President John Valletta said introduction of the new logo was the final step in a
multiyear revitalization effort...to
stay ahead of the competition in an increasingly competitive market.”
As with Days Inn, the new logo was designed to exactly fit in the frame of existing roadside signs to save money on the deployment of the new look. Which is smart for the bottom line, but challenging when trying to redesign an iconic look...