face2face

Air capacity cuts

While I like to whine about American's new $15 fee for the first checked bag, that's really just an annoyance--I doubt too many attendees will decide this is the fee that broke the camel's back and cancel their trips. (Check out these "sneaky" fees, though--we might be getting close.)

No, what's scary, as opposed to annoying, is an anticipated further reduction in flight service to various cities--possibly your next meeting destination? While mergers and bankruptcies are the likely culprits, sky-high fuel costs can only add to the problem. Rising costs, reduced flights, and increasing travel hassles are not making your meeting look more attractive, that's for sure. Is it time to start working on more attrition strategies? How can a planner, particularly an association planner booking destinations several years out, begin to guess which cities will be reachable and affordable for their constituents in 2015? How do you work the airline situation into your risk-reduction scenario?

Oh well, at least we can get up to $800 for getting bumped off that overcrowded, overpriced, fee-laden flight to a city somewhere in the vicinity of where we want to go. Can we call that progress?

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