I sure hope this is one of those joke stories. But it is a fact that the unbundled fees that airlines now charge here in the U.S. in lieu of a fare increase (I recently wrote about the $7 fee for a blanket in a bag on one airline) really got their start as a result of a trend begun by Europe’s low fare carriers — especially Ryanair.
I was amused at the comments of Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary that no one in the history of Ryanair has ever gotten on board one of their planes with less than a British pound in their pocket. But I am amused at the thought of a planeload of well-lubricated British soccer “fans” returning from a match somewhere on the continent, lining up and fumbling in their pockets for a pound. Hmmm. Sounds like fun. Maybe they will need a credit card machine on the door. And will they charge by the use, or put a timer on it so someone who, ahem, takes a little longer can’t get out without putting a second pound into the slot.
This all sounds like a skit on Saturday Night Live or Mad TV, but remember what I said earlier. A lot of these airline fees charged in the U.S. got their start on Ryanair. There was a time when people laughed at the thought of a charge for a pillow or a blanket. No one is laughing now.
There is a silver lining though. The folks who write those Flomax commercials will have a lot more material to work with!