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American Airlines to Charge $5 to Book Reward Ticket Online

(Thanks to View from the Wing):

American Airlines announced that it will now charge $5 to book a reward ticket online (unless you’re executive platinum). Let me put that another way: their “free ticket” now costs $5. I know they need to get cash. That’s fine. It’s difficult to get annoyed by any of the fees that are being rolled out. But there’s something about charging for a “free” ticket that makes my stomach churn a bit.

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  1. I know the environment is tough, and I know that consumers have traditionally booked whichever flight is cheapest. But is that still the case? When RyanAir wants to charge $5 for a drink or $10 for a bag on top of a $15 ticket, I understand. But as legacy airlines increasingly nickel and dime you on top of full fair ticket prices, doesn’t that open an opportunity for someone to create an “all inclusive” fare? You don’t have to advertise meals at mealtime or first class service, you can simply advertise that there are no hidden fees: free soft drinks! free legroom! free chair wide enough to sit in! free checked bag! free toilet paper in the free bathroom! free pressurized cabin! …sort of an all premium economy service (or what economy used to be, circa 1980).

  2. Great idea, Avi. But I think somebody already stole your idea and called it Southwest Airlines.

  3. doesn’t SW charge you extra for the early boarding racket?

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