Want A Coke? That'll Be Two Bucks, Please
As the airline industry continues to be dominated by high fuel
prices and passengers face a multitude of fees and extra charges,
US Airways management recently made the announcement to charge for
non-alcoholic beverages in flight... a decision that isn't sitting
well with the airline's employees, on the front lines of an
increasingly ridiculous fight.
Beginning Friday, US Airways will start charging passengers $2
for soft drinks and $1 for coffee and hot tea. Flight attendants at
US Airways and America West, represented by the Association of
Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA), are adamantly opposed to this
unprecedented decision due to lack of proper planning and poor
notification to passengers.
"Rather than charge the fare necessary to produce their product,
management has chosen to resort to the tactics of ultra low fare
carriers such as Allegiant Airlines and Irish carrier Ryanair,"
said US Airways AFA-CWA President Mike Flores. "This model resorts
to a nickel and dime approach to the airlines most valuable asset
-- the passengers. Flight attendants are trained and certified
safety professionals, not cashiers to be used in management's
futile attempt to bolster US Airways bottom line."
Exempt from the charge will be passengers traveling on
transatlantic flights and on the US Airways Shuttle. Unaccompanied
minors will also be exempt and those with medical conditions will
be assessed by flight attendants and offered a free soft drink
under what the airline calls "the good judgment of our flight
Lisa LeCarre, America West AFA-CWA President representing the
Phoenix-based flight attendants of US Airways, reiterated the
concerns brought forward to management saying, "Selling these items
detracts from the focus on safety for both passengers and crew.
While we understand management's intent to add revenue, this
program will put both flight attendants and passengers in a 'no
win' situation proven by the myriad of problems arising from the
Buy-Onboard program currently in place."
The union says the carrier's current onboard purchasing has
already been plagued by issues such as of lack of inventory,
inadequate money change and an unsatisfactory product selection for
passengers, adding to additional frustration from an already
irritated traveling public. Management plans to install handheld
credit card readers sometime in 2009.
"In the current industry of customer frustration, the last thing
flight attendants want to do is add fuel to the fire," said