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American Airlines' baggage charge plan an insult to passengers

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American Airlines' baggage charge plan an insult to passengers

BY JUAN GONZALEZ

DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

May 23rd 2008

 

alg_airline-passengers.jpg

DelMundo for News

American Airlines plans to start charging passengers $15 for the first checked

bag, $25 for the second, starting June 15.

 

Shell-shocked air travelers of the world, unite!

 

The latest American Airlines outrage of charging passengers to check luggage is an act of war.

 

What's next? Tolls for air in the cabin while you wait for the plane to take off?

 

Only a few months ago, an aviation consumer group gave American the worst possible rating among U.S. carriers for its dismal record of stranding passengers and then treating them poorly.

 

American, to be precise, shared its cellar-dwelling F rating with Delta Air Lines.

 

The study by the nonprofit Coalition for an Airline Passenger Bill of Rights said some 1,275 American Airlines flights were delayed more than two hours last year - far more than any other carrier.

 

Judging by what happened to my sister Elena at Kennedy Airport last weekend, 2008 isn't much better.

 

Around 5 p.m. Sunday, I was driving Elena to Kennedy for her 7 p.m. American flight to San Juan. She had been visiting New York for a few days. We checked in the morning and the carrier said the flight was on time.

 

Just as we arrived at the airport, her husband called from Puerto Rico. The flight was now listed as delayed, he warned.

 

She called American from the car, only to discover the flight had been rescheduled for an 8:45 p.m. takeoff. I dropped her off at the terminal and wished her luck. The plane took off at 11 p.m. - four hours after its original departure time.

 

How does American respond to its F rating?

 

With more nickel-and-dime charges for the same scandalous service.

 

Starting June 15, the carrier will sock passengers who check bags at the airport with a $15 fee for the first piece of luggage and $25 for the second. That's going and coming.

 

As usual, budget travelers will be hit hardest by the extra fees, while business and first-class passengers won't be affected.

 

International travelers will not be affected, but those traveling to Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Canada will.

 

The surcharge comes just as the school year is ending, with tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans in this city preparing to send their children back home for summer vacation to spend time with relatives.

 

Everyone is bound to experience bigger delays boarding flights because some people will desperately try to lug bigger carry-on bags with them, then stuff them into jammed overhead bins.

 

"These carriers seem to be anti-passenger at every point," says Kate Hanni, director of the Coalition for an Airline Passenger Bill of Rights.

 

Hanni, a California real estate agent, started the nationwide, grass-roots organization after suffering her own airline horror incident. In December 2006, she was stuck for nine hours in a plane on the tarmac at an airport in Austin, Tex.

 

Since then, she has lobbied fiercely for Congress to pass basic protections for passengers.

 

The Bill of Rights she backs has passed the House of Representatives as part of a funding bill for the Federal Aviation Administration.

 

Ever since September, airline industry lobbyists and Republicans in the Senate have repeatedly delayed a floor vote on the bill in that chamber.

 

The proposed Bill of Rights is hardly a cure-all. It would have no impact on the tactics airlines have adopted on "unbundling" the costs of air travel and charging separately for items like food and luggage.

 

But it would require carriers to provide basic food and water to all passengers inside a plane during long delays. It also would give any passenger the right to exit a plane that has been delayed on the tarmac for more than three hours.

 

Mostly importantly, it would require airlines to post information on their Web sites about flights that are frequently late. The airlines don't want you to see such information. You might decide not to book a ticket on particular flights.

 

They prefer you arrive at the airport first, then find out the plane is going to be delayed for hours.

 

In demanding that you pay for checking bags, American has gone too far. If you agree, move fast before all the other airlines follow suit. Show the carriers you've had enough of their abuse. Contact Hanni's group at http://www.flyersrights.org. Then call your senators and urge them to pass the Passenger's Bill of Rights.

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I think the real problem here is our dependancy on petroleum. They need to start growing some aviation fuel crops. Grow them on lands currently used for tobacco and you knock out 2 problems at once. The time for cheap & easy is over. Now we gotta work to keep our standards of living. The sooner people realize this and act accordingly the better off we'll all be, baggage fee or not.

 

As far as late flights, you can get a flight tracker widget. Yes, the airlines can be honest, even if it takes a law, but you can also step up as the customer. Part of doing that is speaking up and talking to the airlines & elected representatives.

 

I never check baggage anyways. If i travel i use this thing called laundry services. Too many people pack too much stuff to begin with. One carryon, and one backpack. If i can do it so can everyone else. You don't need to bring -everything- with you. If you want to save that 25 bucks spend time evaluating your essential needs instead. Should have been doing that the whole time.

 

- Andy

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I think the real problem here is our dependancy on petroleum. They need to start growing some aviation fuel crops. Grow them on lands currently used for tobacco and you knock out 2 problems at once. The time for cheap & easy is over. Now we gotta work to keep our standards of living.

 

- Andy

Oh thats great,take it out on the people that are addicted to nicotine...thats right,its all their fault that the airlines are doing everything #%# back wards..

Do you really think that the people who are addicted to something really get it taken away from them? Or just in a lower supply so the prices get drived up even more on cigarettes etc?

Out of all the reasons and possibilities out there,I do have to say that that is the dumbest idea they could come up with..(don't mean to hurt your feelings or anything) but my parents smoke(ed) my dad has quit and my mom is down to 3 cigs a day.My dad used to smoke 1-1.5 packs a day(he was a chimney) and my mom smoked maybe 8 cigs a day,so about every 2-3 days they had to buy 4 packs of cigs. And that would be roughly 20 bucks pending what state etc you bought them at....

And it can drain so much from your budget that with all the money you have spent in 25 years of smoking you can buy a car witht hat money...

So I really don't think that they should take away from the tobacco fields(don't make more tobacco) Just make it so that the prices don't sky rocket like the damn gas prices so we can waste even more money.

*end rant*B)

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Oh thats great,take it out on the people that are addicted to nicotine...thats right,its all their fault that the airlines are doing everything #%# back wards..

Do you really think that the people who are addicted to something really get it taken away from them? Or just in a lower supply so the prices get drived up even more on cigarettes etc?

Out of all the reasons and possibilities out there,I do have to say that that is the dumbest idea they could come up with..(don't mean to hurt your feelings or anything) but my parents smoke(ed) my dad has quit and my mom is down to 3 cigs a day.My dad used to smoke 1-1.5 packs a day(he was a chimney) and my mom smoked maybe 8 cigs a day,so about every 2-3 days they had to buy 4 packs of cigs. And that would be roughly 20 bucks pending what state etc you bought them at....

And it can drain so much from your budget that with all the money you have spent in 25 years of smoking you can buy a car witht hat money...

So I really don't think that they should take away from the tobacco fields(don't make more tobacco) Just make it so that the prices don't sky rocket like the damn gas prices so we can waste even more money.

*end rant*B)

 

Nothing of my idea has to do with smoking or nicotine addiction. Besides, it'd work.

 

- Andy

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Nothing of my idea has to do with smoking or nicotine addiction. Besides, it'd work.

 

- Andy

 

Tobacco is used in cigarettes so its obvious that it would be directly effected.

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Tobacco is used in cigarettes so its obvious that it would be directly effected.

 

Shrug. Would make the air cleaner. :cool:

 

- Andy

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Shrug. Would make the air cleaner. :cool:

 

- Andy

 

lmao shhsh I'm sure cigarettes are the worst huh? How about these big Goliath SUVs we drive around in? I suppose we should take them off the road then to,not to mention kill all the cows because they release to much methane gas.

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lmao shhsh I'm sure cigarettes are the worst huh? How about these big Goliath SUVs we drive around in? I suppose we should take them off the road then to,not to mention kill all the cows because they release to much methane gas.

 

I don't drive. Landfills are the biggest source of methane by far.

 

- Andy

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Well you can agree or disagree with the decision, but the fee pays for the fuel that is required to lift the bag off the ground and get it to the destination. It doesn't affect me as i never check bags, i don't trust the airline to not get it lost. Airplane with 100 passengers may have 75-120 checked items according to my girlfriend. Take that number multiply it by 25 or even 15 & you can see why they decided to implement the fee. If i had to check bags every time or i was a frequent flyer, i'd be pissed, but it doesn't affect me, so i don't really care. I am sure they could have a lower fee, like 3 dollars or something, or put a stricter size or weight restriction instead of having the flat fee. If people don't want this, they gotta speak up, or else the whole industry will start doing it within 1-2 years.

 

- Andy

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This charge on baggage is pure pathetic. I'm surprised AA is the one doing it first.

 

AA always looks at alternatives to cutting costs. Being the worlds largest airline is a disadvantage when fuel costs are rediculous. Has anyone seen the price of gas today? AA is the only one of the "Big 6" carriers trhat has not filed for bankruptcy post 9/11. This is just the begining. Delta, United, US Airways, and Continental are now seriously concidering to follow AA's new baggage fee policy.

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