Airlines could hit you where it hurts
21 May, 2018FORTUNE.COM
Airlines are paying more for fuel just in time for summer 2018 vacations, and it could cost you.
According to data from the International Air Transport Association, the price of jet fuel has risen nearly 55% over last year, and it doesn’t show any sign of slowing. With the busy summer travel season ahead, airlines are facing a choice between increasing prices or decreasing services. Here are some of the changes you might notice.
Some airlines have already started to raise prices as the cost of their second-biggest expense (after labor) has gone up. Spirit airlines has already increased the cost of a ticket, and American Airlines has said they’re considering price hikes. Still, most travelers won’t see the hit on this summer’s travel as airlines hesitate to increase costs until absolutely necessary.
Delta and American Airlines have already expanded their “basic economy” class tickets internationally, which means that many passengers can say goodbye to their free checked bag, even on long-haul flights. So far, it seems that international travelers will be able to use overhead bins free-of-charge, unlike some domestic basic economy flyers, but that’ll mean even more competition for the ever-more-crowded space
Some airlines are looking at cutting under-performing routes altogether. Most of the routes on the chopping block seem to be long-haul international flights, which will mean more stopovers as you travel between, say, Chicago and Beijing. Thankfully, many of these cuts won’t happen until the fall.
As airlines look to squeeze as many people as possible onto each plane, they’re looking for space everywhere, and that now includes the bathroom. The new Boeing 737 MAX planes are designed to maximize the number of paying customers on flights, and according to flight attendants, that has come at the cost of bathroom space. “You can’t get in them,” one flight attendant said. But the airlines themselves don’t seem to miss the bathroom space. American Airlines just sent 200 of its older planes to be retrofitted to match the new design.