Monday, April 12, 2010

Spirit Airlines Bunches Ray LaHood’s Undies

Almost everyone has their panties in a wedge (in one way or another) over the fact that Spirit Airlines has announced it will be charging a fee for carry-on bags. Even our Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, seems to have nothing better to do than say: “I think it’s a bit outrageous that an airline is going to charge someone to carry on a bag and put it in the overhead. And I’ve told our people to try and figure out a way to mitigate that. I think it’s ridiculous. ... I don’t think they care about their customers. That’s what I think.”

Good for you, Ray, actually thinking. But I think that this is not a federal issue. It’s business. Most consumers always seem to shop for the cheapest anything, and (in this case) the airlines are happy to oblige – with the cheapest tickets. Air consumers don’t WANT service or amenities (although they say they do, yet they obviously won’t pay for it), so of course airlines “don’t care about their passengers.” Exactly. The airlines care about making money and satisfying their shareholders. As much as I hate most everything about domestic airline customer service (or lack thereof), I feel this is a business decision. Besides, from what I hear (I’ve never flown them), with Spirit we’re talking lowest-common-denominator here, sort of the Ryanair of America.

Personally, I choose to spend a little more for a few more amenities (legroom, decent seats, even if I have to sit in economy), so I try to fly international carriers and a few domestic airlines that provide such semi-decent service – JetBlue, Frontier, Alaska.

If customers want cheap, well, that’s what they’ll get – Cheap. Ya gets what ya pays for; and if ya don’t wanna pay fer it ya ain’t gonna get it.

Our pols in Washington should find something better to waste their time on.