Dear American Airlines:
So you have decided to charge $15 for checked bags: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24756513/.
I am an American Airlines frequent flyer at the Platinum level. I travel a lot, and I fly mostly with American Airlines anywhere I need to go, if you have flights available. I only run cost comparisons when your prices seem outlandish, and even then they are mostly consistent with other airlines, so I come back to buying American.
I even accept two-hoppers when another airline has a direct flight, just so I can be on an American Airlines plane. I forego the non-stop from California to New York City by JetBlue for American Airlines.
I enjoy the ability to book an exit row whenever there is one available. I like the fact that I can upgrade to first class occasionally, and I enjoy racking up enough frequent flyer miles to get a free flight for two to a vacation destination once a year.
I always check my bags, even when I only have a carry-on size bag. I don’t like lugging bags around airports, and I sneer when others haul all their stuff into the plane, holding up everybody else, clogging up the ailes and overhead compartments.
I like American Airlines, and I am one of your loyal customers.
Now you’re going to start hassling me at the checkin counter with having to whip out credit cards to pay for my bags. Now you’re going to fill up the planes with even more luggage, slowing down the boarding processes even more, making the waits at security checkpoints even longer.
This makes no sense to me. If you had simply added $15 to the price of my ticket each way, I would have paid it gladly. Actually, I would not even have noticed. I don’t really comparison shop.
If you need to charge more because gas costs you more, do it. What’s the big deal? Other airlines have the same problems. They will charge more, too. Why make such a fuss about it, making everything more complicated, creating the appearance of nickel-and-diming the customers, looking like you’re penny gouging?
Charge more for your tickets. I want you to be profitable, so you are here tomorrow, so I can fly with you some more. Cutting back, laying off staff, charging customers and making your processes more complicated and confusing does not help.
In addition, you started a firestorm of whining out here in the real world.
This was a really silly move.
One of your very loyal and long-time customers.
The response from American Airlines, a day later:
Dear Mr. Haupt:
We have received your email regarding our changes in our baggage allowance. However, while the changes do not apply to Platinum members (and travelers on the same reservation), assessing a fee for checked baggage to those applicable passengers was a difficult decision but reflects the reality of our business. We are taking direct steps to ensure the long-term success of our company in the face of unprecedented fuel prices and these fees help us to offset the rising costs associated with the transportation of baggage.
For the most updated information you may visit our web page at:
and also the available link currently located in the first paragraph titled “Exceptions may apply”. Too, you may contact our Platinum Desk at 800-843-3000. Mr. Haupt, we appreciate your perspective and ask for your understanding. We look forward to welcoming you aboard, soon.