That’s right, NW is joining the likes of DL, UA, and US in charging $25 for a second checked bag. The change will be implemented as of May 5, much like UA and US. This is hardly shocking, and to be honest I’m surprised AA hasn’t joined the gang, and lastly CO, although I’m thinking CO might hold out for a while to maintain their “premium carrier” status. As much as we hate to see this, it’s one of the better cost cutting choices, in my opinion, in an industry that keeps getting screwed worse and worse by oil prices.
Speaking of cost cutting, UA will start staffing the 757’s with four FA’s instead of the usual five on flights under four hours. What does that mean for us? Well, potentially one of two things: 1) More rushed, hectic, stressed out FA’s, although I’m certain most FA’s won’t be letting it out on the passengers, and 2) For those of us in F, slower service at times. It shouldn’t change service too much on flights right around four hours since there’s plenty of time to do everything, but on some of the shorter flights that have meals, like ORD-DCA, I think we’ll notice a decline in service up front since one FA will likely be hopping between F and Y. The bigger implications of this seem to be that the unions as well as many employees view this as just another case of the FA’s making sarcifices while management doesn’t, something not necessarily good for their already not-so-great relations.
I also think this is just the tip of the cost cutting iceberg. If there’s one things the airlines have become creative with, it’s finding ways to cut costs, hopefully while minimizing the impact on service. I’m predicting that Ted will be losing at least six seats in order to eliminate one FA. Right now with 156 seats Ted requires four FA’s by FAA regs (one FA for every 50 seats), and since most of Ted flights (based on overall load factor) have at least six empty seats it seems to make sense. Of course the question is whether they’ll be cheap and just rip out a row (my prediction), or whether they’ll scrap Ted altogether, and at least add a very small F cabin (something I can definitely see in the long run).
Oh, and lastly, I don’t want to say it, but we all know it’s going to happen. I’ve mentioned it before, it makes me shiver, and it has to do with awards. Brrrrrr!