I thought about American Airline's recent PR blunder the other day. The airline company took a pre-emptive strike and boldly announced they will now be charging customers a $15 surcharge for transporting each piece of luggage for their trip. Well that piece of news made the headlines on tv, radio, print and online, and needless to say, it was not well received. Travelers are already being hit with airport fees, additional security fees and rising ticket prices, the $15 per bag charge is hardly trivial, especially if you're taking your family on vacation. Yet the reality is that prices everywhere are rising due to runaway gas prices. It's typical for manufacturers and suppliers to pass the costs on to consumers; and lately, rising costs across the board are the norm these days. Clearly, the amount of fuel airlines require to operate their planes is skyrocketing and consumers are well aware of this fact. As consumers, we would have expected to see and pay for higher ticket prices. Are other airlines likely to follow American's move? I doubt it. What they will do and what American should have done is build the additional fee into the price of the ticket. That move would have been far more palatable with the public. I'm unsure what type of PR advise American was given or whether they decided to decline it; now, their efforts to find new ways to boost revenues may have backfired. It will be interesting to see if they reverse their decision and how it takes them.
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