Did you hear about the new website Mad As Hell Day? It was set up to gather digital signatures from air passengers who are fed up with all the added fees airlines hit us with that substantially raise the price of a ticket. After starting a discussion on LinkedIn 5 months ago that I titled Battling Baggage Fees, all I can say is that I am absolutely delighted that someone took it further with this petition.
Airlines have made a huge amount of money, much of it tax-free, with all these fees. Consumers have to dig deep when shopping for fares in order to compare. This petition seeks to end that by requiring the airlines to display upfront the cost of all the add-ons in an easy to understand format.
When I heard about Mad As Hell Day I wondered if it originated when the news of the new “Stand Up” airline seat was released. I can imagine the party responsible throwing up their hands and shouting, “Enough, already!” I know I did. Really, name another industry that goes out of its way to make their customers as uncomfortable as possible and unbundle their pricing to such an extent that the next charge you face will be the one for using the lavatory. Ryanair’s talked about it already so don’t think that one’s off-limits.
I signed the petition last week and was notified over the weekend that they were able to gather 50,000 names and delivered them to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood.
From that email:
“We urged the Secretary to use his agency’s Notice of Proposed Rule Making process to require airlines to make all of their ancillary fee information easily accessible not only on their own websites but also through online and offline travel agencies via the major reservations systems that power those ticketing systems.
With the public comment period closed, DOT will now turn in the months ahead to analyzing and evaluating the voluminous comments filed. Have no doubt, our petition will have had a significant influence on deliberations at DOT on this harmful hidden-fees problem.”
We’ll see what happens, but with all the inconvenience U.S. flyers have to deal with, it makes me long for a rail system like the one in Europe. Hell, they even warn you before they go on strike so you can make other arrangements.