Suddenly airline baggage fees sound reasonable

Phil Boehmke
The airlines have been trying all manner of cost cutting measures the past few years. It has been years since meals were eliminated on most flights (no big loss there), the number of flights have been reduced, additional rows of seats were snuck in and recently there has been a flap over new fees for checked baggage. The loss of amenities and conveniences combined with a variety of new charges are almost to be expected in this economy as companies are fighting for survival and profitability. In a free market the consumer ultimately decides which measures are acceptable.

Not all cost cutting measures fly into practice. The acknowledged king of overhead reduction is Ryanair's Czar Michael O'Leary. Remember when O'Leary (famous for cattle class service) came up with the idea to increase aircraft capacity by introducing a standing section? How about the time he suggested installing pay toilets? Well, they can't all be winners.


The discount carrier's boss has come up with yet another groundbreaking new idea. According to the UK Daily Mail, O'Leary recently said "Let's take out the second pilot. Let the bloody computer fly it." Eliminating the co-pilot would certainly reduce expenses.


Asked what would happen if the single pilot suffered a heart attack, he said one of the cabin crew would be trained to land a plane.

‘If the pilot has an emergency, he rings the bell, he calls her in. She could take over,' he told Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

In the event of a serious emergency in which a small aircraft collided with the passenger jet, tearing a large hole in the cockpit, killing the pilot and damaging the controls, the flight attendant would be trained to keep the plane in the air until another pilot could be lowered into the cockpit by jet-helicopter...hey it worked in Airport ‘75. Since Charleton Heston is flying at a much higher altitude these days it may be difficult to find someone to take on such a dangerous mission.


As expected, O'Leary's latest flighty idea has drawn the protest of pilots and their union.


Jim McAusian, general secretary of the British Airline Pilots' Association, said ‘Are there no lengths to which he will not go to get publicity? His suggestion is unwise, unsafe and the public will be horrified.'

Since it is Labor Day weekend, I'm going to break with tradition and side with the union on this one.


Mr. O'Leary has also been accused of promoting the concept that today's aircraft are so sophisticated that they really do fly themselves and that pilots have become little more than a back-up system or a public relations expense. Call me old school, but given the choice between a cheaper fare on a flight with no co-pilot or spending a bit more for peace of mind, I'll take the upgrade. That's how the free market works



paboehmke@yahoo.com

The airlines have been trying all manner of cost cutting measures the past few years. It has been years since meals were eliminated on most flights (no big loss there), the number of flights have been reduced, additional rows of seats were snuck in and recently there has been a flap over new fees for checked baggage. The loss of amenities and conveniences combined with a variety of new charges are almost to be expected in this economy as companies are fighting for survival and profitability. In a free market the consumer ultimately decides which measures are acceptable.

Not all cost cutting measures fly into practice. The acknowledged king of overhead reduction is Ryanair's Czar Michael O'Leary. Remember when O'Leary (famous for cattle class service) came up with the idea to increase aircraft capacity by introducing a standing section? How about the time he suggested installing pay toilets? Well, they can't all be winners.


The discount carrier's boss has come up with yet another groundbreaking new idea. According to the UK Daily Mail, O'Leary recently said "Let's take out the second pilot. Let the bloody computer fly it." Eliminating the co-pilot would certainly reduce expenses.


Asked what would happen if the single pilot suffered a heart attack, he said one of the cabin crew would be trained to land a plane.

‘If the pilot has an emergency, he rings the bell, he calls her in. She could take over,' he told Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

In the event of a serious emergency in which a small aircraft collided with the passenger jet, tearing a large hole in the cockpit, killing the pilot and damaging the controls, the flight attendant would be trained to keep the plane in the air until another pilot could be lowered into the cockpit by jet-helicopter...hey it worked in Airport ‘75. Since Charleton Heston is flying at a much higher altitude these days it may be difficult to find someone to take on such a dangerous mission.


As expected, O'Leary's latest flighty idea has drawn the protest of pilots and their union.


Jim McAusian, general secretary of the British Airline Pilots' Association, said ‘Are there no lengths to which he will not go to get publicity? His suggestion is unwise, unsafe and the public will be horrified.'

Since it is Labor Day weekend, I'm going to break with tradition and side with the union on this one.


Mr. O'Leary has also been accused of promoting the concept that today's aircraft are so sophisticated that they really do fly themselves and that pilots have become little more than a back-up system or a public relations expense. Call me old school, but given the choice between a cheaper fare on a flight with no co-pilot or spending a bit more for peace of mind, I'll take the upgrade. That's how the free market works



paboehmke@yahoo.com