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American Airlines' new inclusive tickets have fans -- and critics

December 16, 2012|By Hugo Martin
  • American Airlines announced new ticketing options that have gained some fans and some critics.
American Airlines announced new ticketing options that have gained some… (Richard W. Rodriguez / Associated…)

Over the last four years, airlines have been charging for extras that were previously included in the price of a plane ticket, such as checked bags, food, drinks and pillows.

The trend might be reversing, with airlines starting to bundle those extras back together again.

American Airlines announced last week that passengers who search for flights on the AA.com website will get several choices, ranging from a basic fare to a package that includes a ticket plus a checked bag, early boarding, an onboard drink and the option to change flights without paying a penalty.

It’s an idea that already has been seized on by a few other airlines, including Montreal-based Air Canada and Denver-based Frontier Airlines.

On Air Canada, the package deals carry names like Tango, Latitude and Executive Class Flexible.

Frontier calls its deals Economy, Classic and Classic Plus.

American Airlines says the new bundle deals are in response to requests from passengers for more flexibility and convenience. The deals also address passenger complaints that they are often caught off guard by the extra charges that they face at the airport or on the plane, airline officials said.

“This is the right thing to do,” said Rick Elieson, American’s managing director of digital marketing.

Still, the reviews on American Airlines’ Facebook page were mixed.

Some passengers said the new ticketing system makes it difficult to sort by price, departure time and arrival time.

“The old way was better - this seems confusing,” wrote a Facebook member from Miami.

But others liked the new offerings.

“Love this new website,” wrote a Facebook user from Cambridge, Mass. “It's so easy!”

Elieson conceded that the changes might upset some passengers but said American likely will “tweak” the web page in the near future to address those concerns.

ALSO:

The next fee for fliers? It's up in the air

New NerdWallet tool searches, compares fees among U.S. airlines

Southwest Airlines announces new fees for bags, early check-in

Follow Hugo Martin on Twitter at @hugomartin

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