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Snacks Return, Checked Bag Fees Remain


When the Airlines instituted checked bag fees back in 2008, the reason given was to offset the high costs of jet fuel. Last time I checked, fuel costs have decreased significantly worldwide, yet bag fees have remained. In 2014, airlines earned $3.5 billion in revenue from bag fees, so one can understand their reluctance to let that revenue return to their customers.

In December of 2015, CNN reported that, “total operating profits in the industry reached $8.8 billion…and that’s up 61% from a year earlier for the period that includes most of the summer travel season. In fact the first three quarters of 2015 have already produced the most profitable year in industry history with three months of profit yet to go.” Lower fuel costs was the catalyst as the bag fees continued to pour in. With that said, airfare revenue fell 1.1%, so there was some savings the consumer received for the airline windfall.

I’ve never understood why the airlines didn’t just raise prices instead of resorting to the bag fee. Maybe they foresaw that eventually it would become commonplace and the customer would get used to it no matter the fuel cost. I think it would be easier to hide $25 in the cost.

A major announcement today though from two of the largest US carriers United and American Airlines…free snacks in coach are coming back! While it's a nice convenience, I’m sure I speak for the majority of travelers who don’t feel a bag of peanuts or pretzels will make up for the bag fee, the competition for the overhead bins, having to gate check your bag when the overheads bins are full, etc.

I do have to give credit to Southwest Airlines who is the only major US carrier that still doesn’t charge for checked bags and never took away the free snacks. Maybe that’s why they are one of the highest rated US Airlines in terms of customer satisfaction.

To read more about the airline profits in 2015:

http://money.cnn.com/2015/12/15/news/companies/airline-profits-fuel/

To read more about free snacks returning to coach:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/todayinthesky/2016/02/01/free-snacks-now-big-all-3-big-us-airlines----even-coach/79632646/

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