Are airlines lying about boarding pass fees?

When Marius Vogelfanger got an email from Ryanair before a recent flight from Bergamo Airport, near Milan, Italy, he thought it was sending it to him as a courtesy.
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US Airways fires skycaps, replaces them with Wall-E

Rewriting our playbook. That’s what US Airways calls the firing of its skycaps and the elimination of curbside check-in in 23 cities.

Well, they can call it whatever they want. The airline’s actions, which appears to be a direct response to a lawsuit brought by the now-terminated subcontractors, promises to change the check-in process significantly.

Some of the skycaps will be replaced by US Airways employees (they’re currently PrimeFlight Aviation Services employees) or by a machine.

That’s right, a kiosk. Can you help me with my bag, Wall-E?

As always, I have the inside track on the story. Here’s an internal memo from US Airways. Mind the spin.

Beginning July 9, the date that we begin charging $15 for first-checked-bags, we’ll no longer offer curbside check-in services with Skycap partners in our airports, with the exception of our hubs and focus cities and some of our larger locations, where we will gradually transition to having US Airways customer service agents take care of our customers curbside.

Long term, our vision for the curb is to provide our customers with convenient automated resources. This means having kiosks at many, but not all, curbside locales outside our ticket counters.

Look for more on this in the months ahead. ACS Managing Director, SE Region Jim Vallillo, who is heading up the curb transition project said,“We’ll be communicating details to the field stations in the days and weeks ahead as these changes do affect the way we do business at the curb. We’re planning for a smooth transition and we expect to be well positioned to accommodate customers when our first bag policy takes affect.”

Curbside Closures

Changes at the Curb: Preparing for first-checked-bag

Q. Does the change in Skycaps have to do with the pending litigation about Skycap tips?

A. No. Our new first checked bag policy prompted us to rethink what we do at the curb and how to best continue our long-standing practice of curbside check-in. Also, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) contract contains specific language about CWA members being the only group who can collect funds in the price range of our first bag fee. In other words, this move allows us to follow our CWA agreement and sets us up to successfully carry out our first bag policy at the curb.

List of cities:

Chicago – O’Hare
Dallas/Ft. Worth
Fort Lauderdale
Fort Myers, Fla.
Hartford, Conn.
Jacksonville, Fla.
Las Vegas
Los Angeles
New Orleans
Orange County, Calif.
Providence, R.I.
Sacramento, Calif.
San Diego
San Francisco
San Jose, Calif.
Tampa, Fla.
West Palm Beach

No, I don’t for a minute believe that this had nothing to do with a lawsuit. But I do believe this is the sign of things to come.

The other airlines can’t be far behind in canning their skycaps.