Tuesday, June 3, 2008

American Airlines to Charge Fee For "All Four Limbs"

Ticket Hike Follows Up-charges On Baggage, Meals

AMR (7.32, +0.32, +4.6%) parent company of American Airlines announced Wednesday Morning that the long discussed four limb $85.00 fee would go into affect as of June 20th. The fee is said to have been in the works since Sept. 11, 2001 and should offer "another layer of protection against foreign threats" according to the official media release. Typically other airlines follow suit with new fees within days thus giving frequent fliers little choice but to ante up to the increased costs.

American's official press release cited "terror threats" as the primary reason behind the hike, stating that "we learned from 911 that terrorists seeking to attack America always select young strong Arab men with all four limbs... while we acknowledge that not all four limbers are terrorists we cannot discount the risk to our passengers or our proud nation"

Oklahoma City resident Jenna Jameson was less than excited to be smacked with the new fees upon arrival at Will Rogers (OKC) Airport. "It makes traveling a bit harder to swallow but if it's a national security issue then we just have to take it, no matter how hard or deep they stick it to us". Although Jameson had a malformed right forearm and hand she did not challenge the four limb stipulation that apparently can only be waived with the presentation of a full body MRI from an American Airlines accredited hospital.

"We have had the old 'oops didn't realize my arm was hidden inside my jacket' routine one too many times" said JFK ticketing agent Brianna Banks.

Danielle Derek was one of many international travelers that was notified of the new fee halfway through her trip. While in Ireland, American contacted her via email to inform her of the retroactive ticket fee add on for her already ticketed return flight home. "I can't say I was excited but it did give me piece of mind that if something should happen to one of my limbs before the flight back to LAX... well ya know $85.00 difference"

American Airlines CEO Conrad Crashow (pictured right) admitted that the new "four limb fee" of $85.00 was significant but balked at the idea that the cost was equivalent to an arm and a leg. "If that was the case" Crashow quipped "They would not owe the fee beyond their first flight under the new price structure"

Speculation that American was simply trying to cover record jet fuel costs that are adding billions to 2nd quarter costs was met with blank stares from AMR executives during this morning's media junket. Some critics have already claimed that AMR may be targeting business from soldiers freshly returned from Iraq. When asked if the company was simply trying to save weight on flights Mr. Eisner rebuked that such a notion had not crossed his mind but he did admit that many AMR passengers would have some extra leg and shoulder room if the passenger they were sitting next to had one or more limbs missing.

Additionally, Crashow promised that by June 20th the website would allow online ticket purchasers to select seating next to "limb challenged" customers. Four limbed passengers could sit next to one, two, or three limbed passengers for an additional $10, $15, or $20 respectively. Mr. Crashow feels that this type of value and attention to detail is what separates American Airlines from discount carriers such as Southwest
(LUV 13.52, +0.53, +4.1%) and Jet Blue (JBLU 4.02, +0.15, +3.9%) .

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