Airline Food Gets Worse While Ticket Prices Soar

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As airlines continue to cut costs, they also continue to raise ticket prices and add fees and surcharges in an attempt to offset the rising fuel costs.  Average tickets prices are up 16 percent from last year.  Many consumers feel that the cost cuts are unfair, and have decided not to travel this year.  The recent trend of increasing fuel cost has resulted in a stricter approach to the airline companies cost control management.  Some cost cutting policies have proven effective while maintaining quality customer service ratings.  Other policies have fell short in service ratings, and some have led to the questioning of safety practices.

In the early ninety’s, airlines adopted the philosophy of “more is better”.  Increased flights coupled with more destinations, was management’s approach to increasing the consumers desire to fly.  However, this was a time when an airline could effectively advertise their services as being “less expensive than driving a vehicle”.  Airline managements’ failure to prepare for the future has introduced a new airline philosophy, “less is more”.

Nearly every major airline company in the world has been forced to cut costs over the last couple of years.  Some companies have showed excellent intuitiveness in their approach to cutting costs.  Creative ideas have led to cost savings while not compromising the quality of flight service.  Other companies have taken a more direct approach to cutting costs, eliminating freebies and lowering the quality of “on flight” meals and services.  A decrease in service quality and the luxuries that we have become accustomed to us, has resulted to fewer sales and diminishing consumer loyalty.

Air Canada has led the way in creatively cutting costs in order to make their rates affordable for consumers.  In the beginning of the year, they decided that they stripped the paint and primer off of their 767 jets in an attempt to reduce weight.  Understandably this may seem like an extreme attempt to save a couple of extra pounds.  However, Canada Air released a statement that this plan will reduce the plane’s individual weight by as much as 360 pounds, resulting in easier takeoffs and annual savings of nearly $25,000 per plane.

American carriers like Delta, Northwest, American, and Continental spent significantly less money on food than they have in previous years.  Amazingly, the quality of airline food is getting worse.  In the ninety’s, the average cost to provide a passenger with a meal was $6.00.  Now, airlines have cut cost to about $3.50 per meal.  American carriers have eliminated all free snacks including peanuts, pretzels, and soda.  With an average of 60 million domestic flights per month, airlines are saving more than just peanuts.  Hopefully these savings will result in lower fares and not just higher airline revenue.  American Airlines has stated that it would save $30 million annually by eliminating free snacks on flights.   US airways claims that they will save $1 million annually just by eliminating the free pretzel packets.

Many rumors have surfaced that airline companies have been cutting costs in divisions that may compromise the passenger’s safety.  American Airlines has been scrutinized for ineffectively providing proper inspections on their aircraft. In recent weeks, pilots have begun complaining about unsafe fueling practices.  They have stated that major carriers have become so desperate to cut costs that they are forcing them to fly with an uncomfortably low level of fuel.

Most of America’s largest airline carriers have released information showing significant losses in their most recent quarterly statements.  United Airways has declared a net loss of $2.7 billion dollars.  They have decided to decrease their flight schedule by nearly 17 percent in the fourth quarter.  United is planning on eliminating it’s entire fleet of 737’s.  This will result in a loss of nearly 7,00 jobs.