Southwest to charge no-shows
Southwest Airlines says it will begin charging customers a fee if they skip their flight without canceling a ticket beforehand.
Right now, Southwest lets passengers who don’t use their ticket apply the price toward a new ticket. Southwest says it can reduce no-shows and generate more revenue by adding the cancellation fee on restricted tickets. The company says the new fee will start next year, but didn’t give an exact date or say how much the fee will be.
Southwest also plans to increase fees it already charges, such as for early check-in and overweight bags. Its AirTran Airways subsidiary will raise bag fees in February.
American changing its fare packages
Over the last four years, airlines have been charging for extras that were previously included in the price of a plane ticket, such as checked bags, food, drinks and pillows. That trend may be reversing, with airlines starting to bundle those extras back together again.
American announced last week that passengers who search for flights at AA.com will get several choices, ranging from a basic fare to a package that includes a ticket plus a free checked bag, early boarding, an onboard drink and the option to change flights without paying a penalty.
It’s an idea that has been seized on by a few other airlines, including Air Canada and Frontier Airlines.
American says the new bundle deals are in response to requests from passengers for more flexibility and convenience. The carrier’s deals also address passenger complaints that they are often caught off guard by the extra charges they face at the airport or on the plane, airline officials said.
Still, reviews on American Airlines’ Facebook page have been mixed. Some passengers said the new ticketing system makes it difficult to sort by price, departure time and arrival time.
No smiley faces at Cathay Pacific?
Labor strife is common among airline workers, but flight attendants for Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific voted last week to try unusual tactics to push stalled salary negotiations — including refusing to smile at work.
The flight attendants, who demanded a 5 percent pay increase but instead were offered a 2 percent raise, were considering performing only their basic, safety-first responsibilities. That means they could refrain from serving food and drinks, according to the union’s general secretary, Tsang Kwok-fung.
“We will be selective in providing our services,” Tsang told the Sydney Morning Herald, adding that the dates and the types of job action have yet to be decided.
“This could include not smiling at passengers, not providing certain types of beverages — such as alcohol — or stop serving meals,” he said.
Low-cost carrier GOL (GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes), Brazil’s second-largest airline, has expanded to daily its service between Miami and Sao Paulo. GOL began service at MIA with weekly charter flights in July. The carrier joins American Airlines and TAM as the airlines that now provide daily flights between Miami and Sao Paulo.