Tired of just bitching about the airlines and their add-on fee game? Ready to actually do something about it? Here’s your chance…but you don’t have long.
The federal government is on the verge of taking on the airlines over the games they play with all their extra fees, and a Web site has been set up to add a powerful voice to the debate: YOURS.
That is, you’re prepared to spend a minute or two to actually use that voice of yours.
Until Thursday — but only until Thursday — the U.S. Department of Transportation is taking public comment on the airline practice of tacking on extra fees for everything from checking a bag to reserving a seat that reclines.
And if you’ve been following the doings over at Spirit Airlines for the last year or so, you know that’s not a joke.
(NOTE: It’s one of several issues involving the airlines that DOT has been taking comments from the public, all of them involving a sweeping set of new consumer protection rules for air passengers that DOT first issued back in April.)
Specifically, they want to see if the airlines have been truly transparent with all their added fees, or if they’ve been springing expensive little surprises on the flying public.
Now’s your chance to make yourself heard on this issue, by folks who could actually do something about it. But you don’t have long to act. The comment period ends Thursday, Sept. 23.
You have two choices.
You could log on the federal government’s regulations.gov website and wading through their somewhat complicated set of instructions to post your comments. If you’d prefer to go that route, send me an email at email@example.com, and I’ll send you the link and instructions.
The whole thing should take more than 30 seconds.
Regular readers of IBIT know I’ve been fulminating for awhile now against the airlines’ relatively recent practice of taken on added fees for services that had been free for the last half-century or more.
It’s not so much them fees themselves that tick me off as it the inherent dishonesty behind them.
I know that an airline is a business, with a need to make money and turn a profit. If I wasn’t aware of that before I heard of Kirsten Arianejad, I definitely am now.
I know the economy still sucks for a lot of people, myself included. I know the airlines have to pay for fuel just like I do. Sometimes, a business has no choice but to raise its prices. I get that.
If the airlines really need to raise airfares to stay afloat, they should just say so, and say why — in plain, honest English. I’m a big boy. I can take it. My wallet may whine and gripe a bit like a little schoolgirl, but I can take it.
What I can’t take, refuse to take, is the feeling that the airlines are playing a gigantic shell game with all of us.
“See how low our airfares are!” their ads shout from every outlet — while they nickel-and-dime you to death at the ticket counter.
Meanwhile, these poor-mouthing U.S. airlines are raking in the cash, to the tune of a $3 billion profit between April and July of this year, according to the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Not total revenue, okay? Profit.
More than $2.1 billion of that came from add-on fees. BTS figures, not mine.
If these airlines were truly struggling to stay airborne, all the billions in add-on fees they’ve been collecting should be putting them more or less at the break-even point, wouldn’t you think? The BTS numbers suggest they’re doing a lot better than that.
Having your pocket picked by a street hood is a lousy feeling. How do you feel when a collection of Fortune 500 corporations does it? If Malcolm X were still around, he might well turn to the flying public and say:
“You been HAD! You been TOOK! You been…HOOD-winked! BAM-boozled! Led a-STRAY! Run a-MOK!”
Feeling like doing something — or at least saying something — about it?
You know what to do. You have until Thursday to do it.
Powered by Facebook Comments