US Airways Joins the First Bag Fee Party, Charges for Water and Coffee, and Even More!

US Airways is joining United and American in charging for the first checked bag, exempting premium cabin and elite customers (including Star Alliance partner elites). No word in the press release on whether companions of elites will be exempted from the fee.

They’ve also announced that they are “Introducing a new in-flight beverage purchase program.” I love the description. It sounds exciting, new and improved, now 25% larger!

US Airways will begin selling all non-alcoholic beverages (including sodas, juices, bottled water and coffee) in its domestic coach cabins for $2 effective Aug. 1, 2008. Alcoholic beverages will be available for $7 (currently $5). …

Complimentary beverages will continue to be served in domestic First Class, US Airways Shuttle flights, trans-Atlantic Envoy and trans-Atlantic economy class. Unaccompanied minors will also receive complimentary non-alcoholic beverages.

$2 for a cup of coffee, but thank goodness water (remaining hydrated!) is included in first class and on trans-atlantic flights… but apparently not flights to Hawaii in coach.

And even US Airways club members will be unable to get complimentary beverages in Baltimore and Raleigh… since they’re closing those lounges in early August as well as terminating arrivals services for premium passengers in Munich, Rome, and Zurich.

If there was ever any doubt that US Airways had given up the last pretenses of offering a premium product, the announcement of the closure of lounges and ending arrival services really ends the doubt.  But they assured customers that non-alcoholic beverages remain free in first class . . .

United sends its 100,000 mile flyers complimentary alcoholic beverage coupons so that on those rare occasions they sit in back (or when flying on a single cabin aircraft) the drinks are at least on the airline.

US Airways has announced no plans to begin offering complimentary coffee, water, and soda chits for their Chairmans Preferred members, however.

But the changes that I really care about will get their own post…

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I heard this and was shocked by how stupid they must be. Sure charge for drinks, but why not bury the price in everyone’s ticket? Nobody would notice, they’d make more money and they’d be without all the negative PR this is going to stir.

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