To Add Insult To Injury Airlines Charging More In Fees <


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To Add Insult To Injury Airlines Charging More In Fees

By Daniel Baxter

April 7, 2010 - Spirit Airlines has reported that it will soon charge extra for carry on bags.  Ryanair has stated they are looking into charging passengers to use the bathroom on their aircraft.   Other airlines are placing vending machines on their aircraft and subjecting consumers to ads on the back of aircraft seats. While none of this makes any sense, consumers are told by the airlines such measures will result in lower airfares.

Spirit Airlines reported passengers can only carry onboard one free carry on and that carry on must fit under the passenger seat. If the carry on does not fit under the seat the passenger will be charged for it. Any carry on placed in the overhead bins will result in an additional charge to the passenger of $20 to $45. Airline officials are calling it, "bring less pay less."

There surely are a number of appropriate ways to reduce costs to increase revenue, which can be used to pay fair wages and provide a safe and reasonable airfare experience to the traveling public. Such savings could be realized through lower CEO compensation packages, performing required maintenance to reduce the number of regulatory fines, and using common sense approaches to passenger travel which would lead to less lawsuits and fines. Consumer advocates have called this good corporate citizenship. Lets get our house in order first.

In January 2007, Barney Frank introduced Bill, H.R. 1257  in the House of Representatives, called "Shareholder Vote on Executive Compensation Act" that would give shareholders more oversight into executive pay packages. Although the bill would not set pay limits, the bill would make sure that shareholders had a voice in approving company executive pay practices.

At the time President George W. Bush voiced his concern over executive compensation. However, the White House stated that it, "does not believe that Congress should mandate the process by which executive compensation is approved," hence the bill did not pass.

After 20 months of restructuring Northwest Airlines CEO, Doug Steenland, exited bankruptcy with a big pay package worth $26.6 million. However, Northwest workers bore the brunt of the restructuring with a $1.4 billion a year cut in labor expenses resulting in a lost of wages of 20 and 40 percent for pilots and flight attendants.

Former American Airlines CEO, Donald J. Carty, had informed his workers that the company would need to cut salaries if the airline was to survive, the workers agreed. Within days of the agreement, union leaders learned that AMR executives were keeping $41 million in retention bonuses for themselves. Carty was forced to resign.


In 2008, Continental Airlines CEO, Lawrence W. Kellner, received $5,757,527 in total compensation, Delta Airlines CEO, Richard H. Anderson,  received $5,888,812 in total compensation, and US Airways CEO, W. Douglas Parker, received $5,426,702 in total compensation. Each of these CEO?s made more than 133 times the average worker's pay.

In addition, the airlines informed the traveling public they would have to pay for any luggage placed into the belly of the aircraft and those free soft drinks and peanuts had to go. In September 2009, the Department of Transportation fined Spirit Airlines $375,000 for a number of consumer rights abuses.

In February 2010, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposed a $2.9 million civil penalty against American Airlines and American Eagle for operating more than 1,000 flights using airplanes that required maintenance.

In August 2009, a Continental Airlines Flight 2816 sat on the tarmac at Rochester International Airport overnight with 47 passengers. The flight was operated by ExpressJet Airlines. Passengers were not allowed to return back to the gate, instead the small airplane just sat, complete with crying babies and the aroma of over used toilets.

As a result congress passed legislation, the ?Tarmac Rule,? that that would prevent passengers from ever again having to sit out on the tarmac for more than three hours. Continental Airlines Chief Executive, Jeff Smisek, called DOT?s new consumer protection Tarmac Rule "stupid.?

The Aviation Enforcement Office (AEO) fined Continental Airlines and ExpressJet Airlines $100,000 for their roles in keeping passengers on board Continental Express flight 2816 overnight. Continental Airlines was required to provide a full refund to each passenger and also offer passengers additional compensation to materially acknowledge their discomfort. DOT also fined Mesaba Airlines $75,000. Mesaba provided ground handling for the flight.

What's next, charging passengers $10 for every pound they weigh over 170 pounds?
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