Fuel costs, almost tripling since 2000, now account for as much as 40 per cent of operating expenses at some carriers, according to the Air Transport Association (ATA). The ATA notes that airlines are cutting costs and raising revenue in ways that “were once unthinkable.” For example, US Airways has eliminated snacks, Delta Air Lines is charging $25 for telephone reservations, and just this week, American Airlines became the first US company to charge $15 for the first checked bag. In addition, Singapore Airlines is going to eliminate unnecessary quantities of water in order to save weight.
Since December, 2007, eight companies have stopped flying, largely because of fuel costs, and airlines may report combined losses of $6.1 billion this year, according to Bloomberg.com. To save money, airlines are grounding a portion of their fleet, using lighter-weight crockery in First and Business Class, flying slower, and washing planes more frequently (to cut down on wind-resistant dirt). Weighing passengers might be the next move – after all, Southwest Airlines asks passengers to buy a second seat if their girth prevents the armrest from being able to be lowered.
We’ve already all noticed that airplane interiors are largely dirty, as they aren’t cleaned between flights – only trash is collected and tossed. I bring antibacterial wipes and clean off every surface where I sit, including the handrests and controls for video and audio. It’s just a suggestion, but you might want to consider doing the same when you fly.