Well … It’s About Time

I received this notice in my mailbox a couple of days ago.

We’re bringing back free drinks

On March 1, we’re bringing back free drinks in our Coach cabin. This includes sodas, juices, tea, coffee and water on all US Airways and US Airways Express flights.
We believe in our pay-for-what-you-choose-to-use – or “a la carte” – business model, but it’s a work-in-progress. We are committed to remaining competitive and that’s the main reason we have decided to bring back free drinks.
You still have the choice to only pay for the things you want – lie checked bags, Choice Seats or First Class upgrades. And, those services will continue to be free for our Preferred members.
Always get the latest news and our best offers at usairways.com.

I’ve been flying US Airways for many, many years, yet I’m still not a “Preferred Member”, so I can’t check a bag for free.  But I can have a cup of coffee in Coach.

Now, I understand the necessity of airlines trying to do what ever they could to lose less money.  But I also remember what it was like to get on an airplane and be actually served a meal.  Sometimes a pretty mediocre meal, but a meal none the less.  As fuel prices rose last year, airlines began adding fees for things like checked baggage.  First the 2nd checked bag, then the first.  All that means is that people are trying to carry on larger and larger bags, making the boarding and deplaning processes more arduous than they probably need to be.  There were ticketing fees and who knows what all else.  For all the time I spent on airplanes last year, and I don’t recall all the things I spent money on.  One of the least worthwhile was the “Business Class” on Southwest airlines, where I paid for a very high boarding number and after all the pre-boards and employees taking up the choice seats, I still wound up with a rude moron reclined into my lap.  I had some great flights, too, and the $50 Business Class upgrade on AirTran was work every penny.

But I’m wondering why U.S. Airways thinks announcing they’re bringing back free drinks is going to make me want to fly their airline?  When I book a flight, I don’t necessarily thing about being charged for a soda.  I EXPECT the soft drinks will be free.  I choose an airline of some simple criteria.  Where can I get a flight with the fewest stops (preferably non-stop) at a time that’s convenient for the lowest price.  That’s all.

I do take the bag charges into account these days.  I don’t like to check my bag any more than anyone else.  Not only do I not want to have to wait at the carousel, there’s always that gnawing doubt until you see it come out from behind the magic baggage claim curtain.

So thanks U.S. Airways, for bringing back the free soft drinks.  I wonder if they had so much trouble on short hops getting everyone served, collecting the money, and bringing back change to everyone who purchased a $2.00 drink with a $20.00 bill that it just wasn’t worth it.  I promise, it’s not going to be the determining factor in my decision as to whether or not I use your airline.  That non-stop to Reagan National at a reasonable time and price will, as long as I can still carry on my roller bag.  But if someone else starts to offer a competitive price on the same route … you’re gonna have to bring more than free sodas to the party.




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Filed under Air Travel, Rant, Thoughts

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