Passengers lament 'nickel-and-dime' fees as airlines face thin profit margins
People carry luggage at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on December 20, 2013. (Mark Blinch / The Canadian Press)
Published Monday, January 2, 2017 10:00PM EST
Consumers have greater access to air travel than ever before, but with long lines, uncomfortable seats and additional fees now commonplace for most travellers, it's tempting to long for a time when things were simpler.
Long-time air traveller Guilford Boyce says he misses the golden age of travel, when airlines went out of their way to make passengers feel special. "The servers were wonderful," Boyce recalled, in an interview with CTV News. Boyce says things have changed in the last few decades, to the point where he feels more like livestock every time he gets on a flight.
"Now, it's almost like getting on a cattle car," he said.
Most modern airlines have stripped down their in-flight services in recent years, in an effort to keep their own costs down amid razor-thin profit margins. Canadian-based WestJet, for instance, says it makes an average of just $15 off each customer.
That's why some airlines are looking at introducing additional fees for overhead baggage storage and, potentially, use of the bathroom.
"They're nickel-and-diming us to death," Boyce said.
But aviation expert Karl Moore, of McGill University, says that kind of no-frill service makes it possible for airlines to offer cheaper fares.
"I think for the average consumer, compared to 10 years ago, flying is less expensive," he told CTV News. He added that airlines need to charge additional fees in order to turn a profit. "The airlines are trying to make hay while the sun shines," he said.
Boyce says he misses the days of flying in luxury, but he admits that sometimes, sitting close to someone on the plane can be a good thing. That is, after all, how he met his favourite travel partner.
"After a while we got to talking to each other quite a bit," he said. "And now, we're married."
With a report from CTV’s Mercedes Stephenson