Airlines and hotels are opting to charge fees for services of all kinds
Seven top US travel journalists and writers sit at a roundtable discussion organised by Travel Weekly. They comment on current trends in travel and hospitality. The prevailing economic conditions have forced airlines and hotels alike to charge ancillary fees, often subversively without telling the customer until it’s time to pay the check. Guests are increasingly angry with these fees, especially since upscale hotels tend to be more guilty than most, charging for services that guests think should be free, such as WiFi.
This may be a geographical issue; many US hotels still charge for WiFi access while accommodations of all kinds in Norway, for example, do not. It may be getting to the stage where airline passengers and hotel guests decide to fly or stay where they’re not charged for what are increasingly seen as basic services.
“I think you can see how consumers are responding by looking at some of the places that they’re gravitating. Southwest, which doesn’t charge for bags, had more people on their planes last year than ever before,” argues one contributor.
However, airlines are finding innovative ways of charging. Air New Zealand has launched its “cuddle class”, where three seats are sold for two people who can recline together and cuddle up. The third seat is half the price. “I think you’re going to start to see a lot more of that kind of pricing on seats” is one comment.
[pictured: Singapore Airlines in-flight service]