Since the merger efforts with Northwest seem to be mired in pilot union seniority bickering, Delta is making motions to raise revenue and cut costs as a standalone airline. First was the fee for a second checked bag, then the trimming of the workforce and domestic flight schedules, and now more fees. While not publicly confirmed (neither is the 2nd bag fee, btw), a number of Delta insiders seem to be indicating that the new fees will be in effect starting on Tuesday, 4/1. Included in the new fees:
- CRC one-visit pass to go from $25 to $30
- Unaccompanied Minor fee to go from $50 nonstop/$100 connecting to $100 for all
- Pets in cabin fee from $75 to $100
- Pets as checked luggage to go from $150 to $200
- Curbside checked bags as per other threads ($3 vs. free, exemptions include medallions, premium cabin, etc.)
- Oversize bag fee from $100 to $150
- Direct Ticketing Charge goes from $20 to $25
- “ASC” for reissues, etc of non-refundable tix goes from $75 to $100 (only for tickets originally issued after 4/1)
- Award ticket re-issues and redeposits go from $75 to $100, with PM waiver still in place
- “Handling charge” for any award that includes a segment on another airline: $25
Some of these make a bit of sense and are reasonable. Some are just ridiculous. The most interesting one, to me, is the last one. The airline advertises the hundreds upon hundreds of destinations that one can get to using SkyMiles, and then goes and adds a surcharge to do so if Delta doesn’t fly there with their own airplanes. Yeah, they have to pay the partner for the seat, but the $25 isn’t covering that. I’m guessing that they can claim that the additional time required to build such an itinerary with their call center staff justifies it (oh, on top of the $20 call center ticketing fee), but if they’d bother to build a web site that allowed for the ticketing directly people wouldn’t be forced to pay the fee just to talk to someone in a call center who doesn’t seem that interested in doing the work that I am now going to be charged extra for.
As airlines continue to devalue their FF programs and otherwise unbundle ticket prices they are going to find themselves sliding down a very slippery slope. Of course, the flip side may be that they’d go out of business, so I guess it isn’t all bad. Then again, we’ve been hearing for months about over capacity in the domestic airline industry. Maybe one of them shutting down wouldn’t be the end of the world.
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