The Treachery of Found Money

I recently posted that United has matched US Airways’ baggage fee increase.  Now you’ll pay $20 dollars to check your first bag at the airport, but receive a $5 dollar discount if you pay the fee online.  Expect other airlines to match as soon as they figure out how to tweak their aged IT systems to handle it.  I haven’t been particularly annoyed by these fees.  One, my elite status on AA means I don’t pay it (when flying AA), and two…I rarely check luggage when traveling on business so I don’t pay it on other airlines either.  But something about this is starting to bug me.  I am afraid that airlines may be heading down a bad path if they continue to over-exploit this new source of “found money.”  If an airline will charge $20 dollars for checking one bag, why not $50?  I know the accountants are convinced they’ve unearthed a gold mine, but I’m not so positive.  That’s not to say that I am opposed to “unbundling” product.  Handled correctly, I think this may be a sensible way for most airlines to price their product.  However, I’ve seen the results of getting addicted to your ideas in the past, and the trend of charging for everything may turn out to be an addiction that bites airlines in the tail section if they get a little too sure of themselves.  Time will tell, and I’ll be watching and blogging about it.

And a Musing or Two

One week from today, Mrs. MJ on Travel and I will board Liberty of the Seas for a 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise.  We prefer smaller ships, but I admit that I’m looking forward to cruising on the largest ship afloat…at least until December when the behemoth Oasis of the Seas starts sailing.  Our pre-cruise hotel is the Conrad Miami.  I’m looking forward to spending a great evening there.  This will be my first stay at that hotel, and first stay at any Conrad for that matter.  I will write a full review of the experience.   While I’m on vacation, I will attempt to post as I can with a focus on details about the fabulous Liberty of the Seas and other tidbits about our ports of call (St. Maarten, San Juan and Labadee).

This weekend, I will post my review of the Hilton Garden Inn Atlanta Downtown.  It’s a new hotel, which must represent a new concept for Garden Inns.  Quite modern decor, complete with a lobby oyster bar (Legal Seafoods) and rooftop restaurant and helipad no less.