Thursday, April 9, 2009

On Fees: easyJet, We Feel Your Pain

The ancillary revenue drama continues with another bit of travel news out of the U.K.'s Luton Airport, which is set to introduce a passenger drop-off fee.

Drivers who decide they don't want to pay the fee would have to park in the boondocks [an Americanism that means a parking lot in the stratosphere] when depositing travelers at Luton.

The airport already charges fees for luggage carts, clear plastic bags to get liquids through security and fast-lane security access.

But, now easyJet and at least one other airline have seen enough of these ancillary-service fees -- at least when it is an airport that's collecting the revenue.

"Whatever next?" quotes easyJet spokesman Andrew McConnell as saying. "We have seen charges for fast track security and plastic bags. Now they want £1 for dropping somebody off at the airport.

"This new scheme is a recipe for traffic chaos, which will see people stopping on double yellow lines or parking in the bus lane. Passengers already pay to use the airport facilities as part of their air fare."

One might ask the airlines, too, what's next? Many airlines believe it's OK for them to charge a bevy of fees for heretofore free services, but now they are balking when an airport gets in on the action.

To use another American idiom: It seems to me "like the pot calling the kettle black."

For more on the ancillary services question see:

Dennis Schaal's Proposal for the Airline Sales Channel and A La Carte Pricing Conference

Will Airline Fees Pinch Business Travelers?

Airline Merchandising: Trouble Getting Into the Spirit (Airlines)

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