Sally Greenberg, executive director of National Consumers League, an advocate for American consumers and workers, believes that there will be a breaking point, when airlines will realize that aggravating customers with unreasonable fees and policies is bad for business. “It’s never a good idea for any industry to make the customer base angry year in, year out,” she said. “Though it appears airlines couldn’t care less, no industry will survive if it continues to poke its customers in the eye.”
But because it is unlikely that airlines will voluntarily change their ways anytime soon, a new National Consumers League report is calling for Congressional hearings and reforms “to rein in an industry reliant on high prices, punitive fees and penalties.” Among the report’s recommendations are the elimination of change fees for itinerary changes or cancellations made 10 or so days before departure; allowing consumers to transfer tickets to another traveler without penalty; and getting rid of standby fees “because there is virtually no cost to the airline to fill an empty seat.”
The NCL also targets the costly, misleading, and often useless insurance plans that are pushed by the airlines as a means for passengers to avoid the expensive change fees, which are of course also instituted by the airlines.