Peddling Our Wares

Times are tough in the airline industry, and every CEO is doing whatever he can to make more money, from charging to check a bag to charging for a Coke.  Some plans work well (bags), some do not (Cokes).  This à-la-carte pricing structure, I believe, is here to stay.  I also believe it’s the right way to do business.  Any Google search will return countless articles about how ticket prices have continued to drop since deregulation, but the operating costs have only gone up.  People want first class service, but they don’t want to pay for it.  They’ll be damned before they fork over money for something they want, but it’s getting to the point where they have to.

Courtesy A. Currell (flickr)

We now sell snacks at my airline.  We used to offer free pretzels but got rid of them before I started.  Instead of bringing them back we now offer a whole slew of products that a passenger may purchase (again, that alliteration) if he’s hungry or thirsty or even sleepy.  We’ve always charged for alcohol and have been charging for blankets and pillows for a while, but the snacks and specialty drinks are new.  In my experience these new revenue streams have been well-received.  A few people have declined to pay for a snack when I told them the price, but those who have bought something have not uttered one word of complaint – at least not to where I could hear it.

Trying to organize multiple deposit sheets.

I don’t mind selling these products at all; if it’s helping my airline, then it’s helping me.  I love my job and want to keep it; however we can make money I say let’s do it.  What I don’t like is trying to change a 20-dollar bill for a three-dollar item and keeping up with the money for days at a time.  We can get into a bit of trouble (only a slight bit) for not depositing the money in a timely manner, but when it’s

Depositing two days' worth of sales.

midnight and you just finished a four day trip and all you want to do is go home and sleep, depositing money in a broken ATM is the last thing on my mind.  Nevertheless, these things must be done.  Once it’s done, it’s nice to be rid of that money.  Individually, we don’t really deposit a whole lot of cash, but with tens of thousands of flight attendants making deposits it adds up to quite a hefty sum.  And while some of our items may be a bit over-priced (one expects a mark-up on an airplane), a lot them are actually cheaper than the airport prices.

So while we all may have our varying opinions on what airlines are doing and whether they should go a different route (no pun intended), the fact of the matter is that airlines need to make money because passengers aren’t willing to pay the proper price for the services rendered.  They can’t continue to bleed billions of dollars a year while you pay $259 round-trip to go from New York to LA (and yes, that’s an actual price from

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