AirTalk for May 6, 2013

Tray tables up & wallets open: Airline to charge extra for beverages and carry-ons

Frontier Airlines To Lay Off Over 400 Employees

Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

A Frontier Airlines plane sits on the tarmac at the Pittsburgh International Airport. Is it fair for airlines to charge for drinks on flights?

Frontier Airlines plans to charge economy passengers $1.99 for soda, juice, coffee and tea. The last carrier that tried to stop complimentary beverage service was US Airways in 2009. At the time, it hoped to set an industry trend, but found itself all alone fielding vitriolic reaction from customers. Six months later, refreshments were free of charge again.

Following a more recent and successful trend, Frontier will charge carry-on fees -- $25 in advance, $100 at the gate -- to folks who buy their plane tickets from Orbitz, Expedia and the like. The Denver-based airline says the move answers complaints from its loyal customer base tired of crowded overhead bins. Moreover, the fee will encourage customers to buy tickets directly from Frontier in order to avoid the fee.

How will the marketplace respond to the beverage fee? What about passengers? Will this make for grumpy, penny pinchers on board? Could it start a trend? What about the carry-on fee? How much financial gain will Frontier see?

 

Guest:

Chris McGinnis, Travel Analyst with Travel Skills in San Francisco, CA.


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