Less is more for the airlines again

Does it shock you that there's another fee to be had for the airlines? It shouldn't. We know more fees are coming, I just thought they would have been a little more creative about it. This one is boring: American Airlines is going to charge $15 to check one bag.

That's right. If you want to check any bag at all, you have to pay. Airplanes are already bombarded by too-big rolling suitcases that quickly fill the overhead bins. If you're sitting at the front of the plane, the chances that someone from the back has already filled your overhead bin with their monstrous carry-on have just gone up.

Industry experts say the logic here is simple: Customers will only pay so much for an airline ticket. If the tickets go above a certain level, it starts scaring passengers away. But they say passengers are willing to pay fees for extras.
Now bringing a decent-sized suitcase on your trip is considered an "extra"? In the day when you're only allowed pint-sized fluids in your carry-on? This has got to stop somewhere. But it doesn't look like it will. Assuming no one lashes out at American Airlines too badly, the other big carriers are going to follow suit. Why shouldn't they? If the consumers will pay it, the airlines are going to charge it.

I understand the problems in the industry. I really do. I realize that the price of oil makes it impossible for the airlines to be profitable. But I really think they need to stop playing passengers for fools. Offer me something for the price of my ticket!

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

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