Says Airlines Must "Change The Rules" To Survive
It's a policy lambasted by pundits,
and hated by passengers: US Airways' decision to start charging
for... well, pretty much everything, from a single checked bag to a
bottle of water on its domestic flights. But CEO Doug Parker says
it's the new cost of doing business.
In a recent interview with CNBC, the oft-maligned Chairman and
CEO of the nation's fifth-largest carrier said airlines must
"change the rules" in order to survive the new reality of high oil
"All airlines are raising fares and you’ll see that
continue," Parker said. "We’re trying to cover the cost of
transportation. So the first thing we do is increase ticket prices
to cover the cost and reduce the number of flights that are
As ANN reported, as of August 1 US Airways has
taken the unpopular step of charging for all drinks onboard its
planes... including a $2 charge for bottled water. The airline has
also joined with carriers including American Airlines and United in
charging $15 for the first checked item of baggage, as well as
added fees for such niceties as pillows.
Later this month, the carrier also plans to stop showing movies
on domestic flights... ostensibly to save the few precious pounds
in video equipment.
Many passengers have responded angrily to the changes.
Predictably, Parker defended the latest series of cost-cutting
moves... noting the extra fees only "charge the customers who want
to use the services, like a checked bag, and not charge customers
who do not want to use them."
Perhaps overreaching to make a point, Parker then pointed out
customers don't grumble when they pay extra for food and drinks at
a baseball game.
Furthermore, he added, by cutting out optional niceties the
airline is better able to use available funds on improving other
aspects of its service, including on-time performance and
decreasing the number of mishandled bags.
"We're the number-one airline in on-time performance in 2008 and
we’re proud of it," he said.