So, the airlines are raking in hundreds of millions in airline fees from things like extravagant extra services (you know, like luggage and reservation fees). I was thinking, maybe they need some help coming up with some future fee ideas. Heck, I have dozens of them, so why not share them?
- The POTTY: I know this idea has been mentioned before and Ryan Air was said to have been testing it, but really, a fee to enter the bathroom should be incurred for anyone who didn’t have the brains to go to the potty before boarding the plane. I mean really. Also, my idea is unique in that I would propose it be a timed fee, say $1 a minute, plus a $1 fine if you don’t wipe down the sink after use out of courtesy for the next passenger. That fine would be on the honor system though; you could just leave it in that useless razor blade receptacle slot on the wall.
- Safety Announcements: Given we all still apparently need instructions on how to use a seat-belt (you know, because we don’t travel in cars or anything), I would be happy to pay for individual (yes, one-on-one, in person) training sessions on how to get off the plane in a hurry. By the way, does ANYONE not know how to use a seat-belt? If they’re so complicated, I would bet there’s a Velcro (err, I mean hook and loop fabric, lest I upset the trademark police) someplace that will hold someone in place in the event of turbulence. The securing mechanism is a lot less complicated to explain than those modern-day engineering marvels used to keep us in place, previously referred to as “seat-belts.”
- Smiles. I like smiling flight attendants, but they are very busy taking care of all those (ugh) customers. Like for a good street performer, you should have to pay for the pleasure of seeing a smile. That should be worth $.25 cents, right? The unions would clearly want to put a cap on smiles per hour but that’s okay, we wouldn’t want the smiles to come off as phony.
- Guaranteed Pat-Down: Last I went through security and set off the metal alarm, the man complimented my bracelet and my shoes and wished me a very pleasant flight. Hey, this was a nice touch, so I say the airlines should get together with the TSA and charge for “positive experience pat-downs.” $5 is not a lot for this service. No matter how you look, they would lie to you and say you look great and say you’ve lost a few pounds. Unfortunately, you can’t request a TSA agent of the opposite sex. No joke here; you can’t. Just trust me.
- Guarantee View Fee. If you want the window, you should have to pay $25, irrespective of weather (note to airlines, please research charging a fee in the event of a sunny day accompanied by pretty clouds that look like circus animals.)
- Guarantee Aisle Seat. If you want the aisle, you should also have to pay $25. This fee however, would have to be bundled with elbow and knee pads to save you from the freight train of a beverage cart being pushed by the flight attendant who is pissed he/she didn’t get to the gym that day and is trying to get in a few minutes of cardio. But those pads cost money, so make it $35. If you bring your protective pads on the next flight, you could save the $10.
- Guarantee “No Middle” Seat. What if you don’t care if you get the aisle or window, but want to make sure you don’t get the middle? There’s a fee for that; $25, plus a $5 “indecisiveness” surcharge. Total fee $30.
- No-Baby Zone “NBZ” Fee – want to be outside the baby-zone (say by fifteen aisles)? That’s another $25. If you want a window or aisle NBZ seat, that could be packaged for $49. If you want a GNMNBZS (Guaranteed No Middle, Non-Baby Zone Seat), that’s $100 because the accounting / booking code for the fee is very long and cumbersome to the airline staff.
- Oxygen: Talk about supply and demand. If those babies pop from the ceiling, they should be accompanied with a little sign that reads, pull this mask and your credit card will be charged $50. You could argue they could charge $500, but hey, let’s not be greedy.
10. Fee Fee. I know, you’ve heard this one before but honestly, to charge fees, the airlines have to incur costs and it would be unfair to ask them to do so without remuneration. Since most of these fees would be paid by credit card and the average credit card merchant fee is 2.5%, they should just tack this Fee Fee on top of any fee.
Have any more fee ideas? Let me know.
I’ve spent the last ( nearly) three years of my life working to grow Tripology. Much of that time was spent traveling around the US and the world (London, Prague, Berlin, Athens, etc.) telling people about our business and model. I swear, between VCs, conferences, trade shows, webinars and other random events, I think I must have made a thousand presentations of one sort or another.
All of a sudden, in the past three months, I’ve been contacted by people from the US as well as overseas (specifically London, Moscow and Berlin – hmm, you think they were at my presentations?), looking to create the next Tripology. They say they’re “far along” but guess what? Yep, they have questions; lots of them. They all go on to make it sound like it will be so simple and I’m sorry, but I just have to laugh. They all say they have the code “under control” or “the team in India/Russia/ (insert any country name here) is on it” and it is clearly almost done.
All they want is some research, background, PowerPoint presentations and/or data (read LAZY). Now, I’m all for helping friends with anything they may need, really. As for copying us, I’m flattered. However, why on earth do they think I’ll just hand everything over to them? We’ve spent literally thousands of man hours developing hundreds of thousands of lines of code for some of the coolest algorithms I’ve ever seen. We’ve paid tens of thousands of dollars on research. We’ve mingled and schmoozed till we could hardly stand and we’ve worked like dogs to get where we are. So, please forgive me if I’m not about to wrap all this into a nice little package with a big red bow on it and ship it off to some stranger that’s managed to find me on LinkedIn or one of my blogs. Want some general info? Maybe some basic stats? Heck, want to do a partnership? I’m in. Outside of that, sorry, I can’t help you.
By the way, I don’t blame you for trying. I would have done the same thing, but with a lot more tact.
Ritesh Gupta just wrote a really cool article entitled “Social media is no longer just for soft marketing initiatives.”
Here’s an excerpt:
“For long, it has been acknowledged that for brands, social media is primarily about testing and learning.
It is definitely better for a brand to be in these spaces listening, engaging and responding than to underestimate the power of this platform as a new outlet for customers. It is vital to understand clearly why/who/how/what your brand and your people will do in social spaces and to balance sales versus service messaging. It is not possible for brands to opt out of the medium as customers are more powerful than ever before.
Being open and honest as a brand and listening and engaging with customers in a fair and transparent way should avoid failure. At the same time, it is critical to assess for how long one should wait to see tangible results.”
Read the entire article at:
I along with Flo Lugli, EVP of Marketing of Wyndham Worldwide, Josh Steinitz, CEO of NileGuide are scheduled to speak at the forthcoming Social Media Strategies for Travel USA 2010 Conference. The two-day conference will take place in San Francisco (March 24-25).
For more information, click here:
Social Media Strategies for Travel USA 2010 Conference
I’ve been painting and drawing since I was young. I remember my mom sitting with me, showing me how to do it, never correcting me, but always encouraging me.
I started by drawing with pencil, then I added ink. Years later in high-school, my art teacher, Cornell Ferrat, told me to try painting. I was so into it, I remember cutting other classes so I could go to the studio to work on my painting. It was of a rowboat in the Greek Islands. I’ll never forget it.
At some point, I got bored, so I started doodling these little faces. On a sheet of paper, I’d draw as many as I could. I realized they looked like “faces in the crowd” so that’s what I called them. Now, 20+ years later, I still draw them. I’ll get a sheet of paper 3 feet by 3 feet or so and just draw a thousand of these little, one inch faces. Each crowd scene is different; bullfights, concert, auto shows, Olympics and more. I’d say each one takes about a month to complete because I obviously can’t finish a piece in one sitting; I don’t have that kind of time and I think I’d go blind.
Anyway, if you want to see something I’m very passionate about, go to http://www.johntpetersart.com/
So I just attended the World Travel Market travel show in London. WTM has been a favorite of mine for many years. I was honored to have been invited to speak at the EyeforTravel Travel Technology conference.
WTM is also a great place not only to meet people but, if you’ve been in the travel industry for some time, catch up with old friends. I write about this more on my travel industry blog for Tripology.
You know what’s on my mind though today? All those people shaking hands in London that had a cold or the flu. Okay, so if you know me you know I’m a bit of a germaphobe but am I wrong to think about it? I know it’s a nice custom to shake hands, but think about it; 40,000 people. How many sick people does it take to infect everyone? So, I started doing a little research and guess what I found? A movement, yes a movement, of people who want to get rid of the handshake. Yes, “Skip the Handshake” as reported by TechCrunch, even has a blue silicon bracelet.
So, read all about it here and get your blue band today and stop spreading germs. I think it is a great idea for large trade shows and conferences. They should donate the money to charity though.