As Airlines’ Profits Grow, Customers are Paying More and Receiving Less
Like all companies, the bottom line in the airline industry is be profitable. Airlines have come up with all sorts of ways to increase their profitability, and unfortunately it comes at the expense of their paying customers. The cabins are now more crowded due to airlines decreasing seat pitch and width to densify the space and create more seats.
This comes as a win for investors, who want to increase profits and enhance their stocks. Yet, it compromises the comfort and ease of travel for customers.
This topic was brought up at the American Society of Travel Agents' Premium Business Summit. (TravelStore is a member.) It’s no secret that airlines are making such decisions to favor investors, which ultimately is making their customers less satisfied with their travel experience. For example, United is adding a tenth seat to their nine-across Boeing 777 configuration, reducing seat width to 16 inches.
With this topic being addressed as a concern in the airline industry, there is hope that some airlines will create more of a balanced approach and favor customers and their needs in other ways. While mainline carriers such as American Airlines are adding more rows of seats which compromises the seat pitch, they will be introducing a new and improved seat with web mesh instead of hard metal seat pans or metal backs. Certainly for those flying business class and above, significant investment is being made by airlines to stay competitive and increase comfort at least in these higher priced seats.
The other way that airlines are producing more profits is with ancillary fees. It looks like those fees are here to stay, with carriers netting approximately $4 billion a year from such fees. Fingers crossed they won’t come up with any more new fees. Checked baggage fees, paying for seat assignments, and no more complimentary meals on domestic flights are bad enough. What’s next, charging for oxygen?! Come to think of it, if airlines created a product that offered ‘fresh air’ on flights rather than stagnant, recycled air, people might pay for it!
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