British Airways charge passengers to reserve seats - I'm sorry, what?
We get it. Times are tight. There's not much money to spare, and folks aren't too keen to spend their cash on flying here and there when they've mortgages to pay and businesses to run. We're all suffering. Obviously, you're suffering a little more than most since you somehow lost £400 million last year. We notice if we open our wallet and we've lost a fiver, so fuck knows who was keeping an eye on your money.
Anyway, that's not the problem. Well it is, but it's how you're fixing the problem that is the real problem. See, you seem to be hellbent on taking perhaps the best known consumer brand in aviation history and running it into the ground, but not before tieing it up in a bag full of hammers and kittens and smashing it into an orphanage full of paraplegic children who have just been informed of their parents' horrifying death in a Victorian threshing machine. You're not re-inventing your business for leaner economic times - you're dismantling it.
So far you've asked staff to work for free for a month, stopped serving meals on short-haul flights, grounded 22 planes this coming Winter, announced you're considering charging economy passengers on short-haul flights for food, raising fees for excess baggage and changing charges for sports equipment, plus you've introduced advertising on your boarding passes. And that's just in three months.
But it's still not enough, because you're seemingly hellbent on reducing British Airways to the standard of Lao Che Air Freight in Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom. Maybe you like that film. I prefer Raiders Of The Lost Ark myself. And don't even get me started on the pile of dogshit that was The Legend of the Crystal Skull. A fridge, for fuck's sake. Anyway. Today you've announced that in true budget airline fashion, you're going to start charging passengers to book their seats in advance.
From October 7th, for an economy-class trip within Europe, passengers will pay an extra £10 each to choose their seat. On long-haul economy flight it'll cost £20 per seat, while long-haul passengers in business will pay £60. Sure, you can still select your seat for free 24 hours before take-off, but that's not how it works, is it? A family will only fret over the prospect of having to sit apart so they'll pay the charges to make sure a parent can sit with their child. Except they won't, because you've just slapped £160 on the cost of a longhaul holiday for a family of four.
You seem to be missing the whole point of this residual revenue business. It's vital for budget airlines because they sell the actual flights for considerably less than the likes of you. Passengers benefit from low lost travel and can choose whether to improve the experience by paying more. Do you see the juvenile schoolboy error you're making? Introducing additional charges on top of already expensive flights doesn't really work, does it?
Of course people want cheap flights, but plenty will pay a little more for quality. Cut your loss-leading routes, drop some frequency on others, restructure management - but don't screw with everything people prefer you for in the first place. People don't choose British Airways and pay British Airways prices to then fly Ryanair.