Should Airlines Offer Customers Guarantees on Services and Products For Which They Charge Fees?
An announcement from Porter Airlines brings a mixture of bad news and good news.
The bad news is that effective as of August 1, 2013, Porter Airlines will start charging fees for checked bags on its flights between Canada and the United States; and the fee for the third checked bag and each subsequent checked bag on domestic flights within Canada will increase to $100.00.
The good news is that Porter Airlines will guarantee delivery of your bags within 30 minutes — and if Porter Airlines fails to honor that guarantee, you will receive a voucher of $25.00 valid towards the purchase of a future flight operated by Porter Airlines where travel must occur within six months.
Here are the fees to be imposed on checked bags for travel between the United States and Canada:
|Description of Fee||Firm Fare||Flexible Fare||Freedom Fare|
|First bag||$25.00 – $28.25||$25.00 – $28.25||$0|
|Second bag||$35.00 – $40.25||$0||$0|
|Third bag and subsequent bags||$100.00 – $115.00||$100.00 – $115.00||$100.00 – $115.00|
|Weight fee per bag of any one bag
greater than 23 kilograms
|$75.00 – $86.25||$75.00 – $86.25||$75.00 – $86.25|
|Oversized fee per bag||$75.00 – $86.25||$75.00 – $86.25||$75.00 – $86.25|
Porter Airlines is also increasing checked bag weight allowances to 23 kilograms — or 50 pounds — and 158 linear centimeters combining the total of the length, width and height per bag. The previous weight allowance was a combined total of 23 kilograms for all checked bags.
Overweight and oversize bags on Porter Airlines are limited to a maximum of 32 kilograms — or 70 pounds — and 158 linear centimeters.
An excess weight or size fee of $75.00 is charged only once per bag. This charge does not apply when additional baggage fees are paid for the third and subsequent checked bags. At the same time, all per kilogram overweight charges are eliminated.
Alaska Airlines has been offering a guarantee of its baggage service to its customers since July of 2009 — but many airlines seem to offer no guarantee on any product or service on which they charge fees.
I say that needs to change. If an airline charges a fee for a product or service, it should guarantee that product or service — as Porter Airlines and Alaska Airlines already do with their baggage services.
As an example — before the airlines decided to go “fee crazy” — they were notorious for losing the bags of passengers and not returning them in a timely manner. Charging fees for products and services which used to be included as part of the airfare does not necessarily guarantee that those products and services will improve — it just ensures greater revenue for the airline.
What do you think? Should airlines be more accountable for the delivery of products and services to its passengers when an extra fee is assessed? Which would you rather have: a product or service included in the airfare but no guarantee that you will be satisfied, or a product or service which costs extra with a guarantee of satisfaction included for you?