Odds and Ends: Change fees; Two ex-NTSB members rap Boeing, FAA, current NTSB

About those change fees: Last week we reported from the US Airways Media Day and among the topics was that of change fees. US Airways matched United Airlines to charge $200 if you change your ticket. Here’s an article about how to deal with these fees.

Here’s another article about change fees, and how they’ve soared in recent times. If you think fees in the US are bad, look at the table and note in particular Ryanair’s fees–this carrier is notorious for charge for everything, and at steep prices, something subject to this funny video:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAg0lUYHHFc&w=560&h=315]

Why are fees becoming so prevalent? Because this is where airlines are largely making their profits. US Airways said last week it expects to earn $600m from fees this year. This is more than its entire profit from 2012. This means airline operations lose money and profits come from the fees.

Also on US Airways: we also reported last week about some outstanding labor issues between the IAM at US Air and the TWU and American Airlines. An agreement over the weekend was reached about merging these two workforces under one union banner, according to Terry Maxon at the Dallas Morning News.

Ex-Members Rap FAA, NTSB: We bet they won’t be invited to a reunion. James Hall and John Goglia, former members of the National Transportation Safety Board, had harsh words to say about the FAA, Boeing and the NTSB over the certification of the Boeing 787 and the subsequent fix. Hall said the FAA needed to recertify the airplane, not just the battery.

Ethiopian Airlines resumed service with the 787 over the weekend, while Japan’s ANA engaged in a proving flight. This Wall Street Journal article (via Google News, so everyone should be able to read it) references additional measures required by Japan.

12 Comments on “Odds and Ends: Change fees; Two ex-NTSB members rap Boeing, FAA, current NTSB

  1. Scott,
    I’ve read the James Hall op-ed five or six times now (I saw it over the weekend) and as far as I can tell, he never says anything about recertifying the entire airplane. He does express his dismay that the 787 was returned to service so quickly, but comes short of calling for a complete redo in my opinion.

    • It’s a bit scary because on the one hand he says the 787 wasn’t properly tested. On the other hand he doesn’t spell out what to do about it. Is it (a) “Aw shucks. Let’s hope the thing holds together.” or (b) “Throw it out. Start again.” or (c) “Don’t be stupid. We’re stuck with it. But am I mad about what happened?”

  2. For fun, I thought I would see how I would pay for a flight from Edinburgh to Dublin on 19th May with Ryanair. Here’s the breakdown:

    Fare: 33.99 GBP
    EU 261 Levy: 2.50 GBP
    Web Check in: 7.00 GBP
    ETS Levy: 0.25 GBP
    Administration Fee: 7.00 GBP
    Taxes/Fees: 32.98 GBP
    Aviation Insurance/PRM Levy: 6.49 GBP
    UK Air Passenger Duty Tax: 13.00 GBP
    UK PASSENGER SERVICE TAX : 13.49 GBP
    Total Price: 83.72 GBP

    The PRM levy is €0.50 to cover the cost of Ryanair providing wheelchairs to “Passengers of Reduced Mobility”. This fare doesn’t include other “optional” fees like using credit cards, checking bags or carrying infants.

    The actual fares after fees are reasonable on the whole. They add in or remove “fees” on whim depending on how low they want to compete. It’s how Ryanair claims these fees are optional. If you don’t want to pay them, you go on a different flight.

  3. I would expect some sort of EU-regulation coming soon. Honestly, charging 140 GBP for overweight hand luggage is simply using the stupidity of customers for generating profits.

  4. Curious. Why wouldn’t Ethiopian continue to operate the 787 after the initial flight?

    Update: Christine Negroni of Flying Lessons questions whether the much-touted Ethiopian Airlines 787 first flight was anything more than a PR stunt.

      • Another cool blast of refreshing spleen from Ms. Negroni’s vent. Well at least she’s willing to correct herself when she knows she’s wrong.

      • So, in a way, it was a PR stunt with Ethiopian taking advantage of the publicity to promote themselves, presumably targeting Nigeria where they don’t intend to run the 787 in the short term.

        It also shows that Ethiopian have no problem in associating themselves with the 787 as the latest and, in their view, greatest airplane. It will be interesting to see if the Japanese airlines will draw attention to their 787s in the same way, after return to service.

  5. FF :So, in a way, it was a PR stunt with Ethiopian taking advantage of the publicity to promote themselves, presumably targeting Nigeria where they don’t intend to run the 787 in the short term.
    It also shows that Ethiopian have no problem in associating themselves with the 787 as the latest and, in their view, greatest airplane. It will be interesting to see if the Japanese airlines will draw attention to their 787s in the same way, after return to service.

    Another question is whether airlines will be able to charge a premium for B787 services anymore. I doubt it. That will have been built into their assumptions when they bought the planes.

    • The airlines could also charge a premium for avoiding the 787, either way it will make them some cash 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.