Travel trend: adding yourself to the ‘no fly’ list

Give up air travel altogether? You’ve probably heard whispers about it in the aftermath of cancellation-gate. And following United Airlines’ announcement yesterday that it would bump its change fee to $150 from $100 and add Saturday-night stay requirements to many of its flights, who can blame travelers for wanting to ground themselves?

What most observers — and certainly people in the U.S. airline industry — don’t realize is how big the backlash could be. Travelers are seriously thinking about adding themselves to a voluntary “no fly” list.

Take the following e-mail from reader Richard Factor, who said he’s already on the list.

I’ve rediscovered the joys of walking around. I’ve rearranged my automobile commute so I rarely encounter traffic problems.

I can’t help wondering how many people have simply dropped out of the travel rat race just on account of the idiotic Saturday night stayover “rule” of the airlines. For all their “yield management,” I wonder if the airlines wouldn’t do better to drop ALL of that crap and look for a new business model that isn’t guaranteed to irritate and drive away their customers.

They can hardly do any worse.

Some air travelers have already had enough of the airline industry’s silly fees and substandard service. The question is, how many more are out there?

If I were a bettin’ kinda guy, I’d say a lot more travelers will ground themselves voluntarily as the busy summer travel season approaches. What do you think?

(Updated 10:35 a.m. to add Rooney commentary.)

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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