• (Some of) The drinks are on US Airways


As I was flying home from the Caribbean on a US Airways flight last Wednesday, the attendant asked if I wanted to purchase a soft drink.

“No, thanks,” I said. “I’ll wait till Sunday.”

He just grinned, but he got it.

US Airways, the sole major American air carrier charging customers for non-alcoholic beverages, bowed to industry and consumer pressure and will rescind the charges as of today, March 1.

According to a memo to airline employees from upper management:

“ …. We (are) returning complimentary sodas, juices, tea, water and coffee to US Airways. The free beverage service will resume on March 1. This change reverses part of the a la carte business model we believe is right for our business … .

“When we launched the beverage purchase program in 2008 we knew it would generate additional revenue. From this perspective the program was very successful. What we didn’t know at the time, but later experienced, was that the cabin atmosphere would also improve with fewer carts in the aisles and shorter lines to the lavatories.

“Today, while we remain firmly committed to the a la carte strategy — we also know it is a work in progress. We know customers don’t buy an airline ticket based on whether or not they will get a free soda onboard, but with US Airways being the only large network carrier to charge for drinks, we are at a disadvantage. More importantly, this difference in our service has become a focal point that detracts from all of the outstanding improvements in on-time performance and baggage handling that all of us have worked so hard to achieve over the past year.”

So, you’ll still be paying for alcoholic drinks. But, bottom line: No more $1 charges for tea or coffee or $2 charges for soft drinks, juices and water.

Very nice.



About Bill Dowd

Webmaster/social media coordinator for the Southern Rensselaer County NY Rotary Club.

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