FFOCUS thoughts on beverage sales on US Airways

If you're flying on US Airways today or in the near future, be sure to bring plenty of cash. Today marks the first day of US Airways' new beverage purchase program. Under this program, US Airways is charging for all beverages served on their aircraft, including water. Reports are coming in from all across the country today of thirsty, confused passengers finding themselves trapped on flights totally unprepared for what some suggest essentially amounts to a shakedown. As has become the norm, US Airways has placed the burden of enacting these hostile policy changes solely on their front-line employees without any consideration for the precarious position this puts them in.

The very concept of this beverage sale program, in general, is flawed. The potential revenue generated from this program is a drop in the bucket compared to the salaries and bonuses paid to the US Airways executive team, who despite rampant mismanagement, continue to be rewarded for their failures. The price of fuel is taking its toll on everyone, from the bottom up. The struggle and hardship must be shared at all levels. The management of US Airways continues to shoulder little burden of these fuel prices and chooses to penalize their customers for their own failures. This is wrong.

Called a "Business Model Transformation" by US Airways management, the most recent changes involve US Airways cutting the most basic services from their flights while holding fares at levels at or above the competition, none of which, thus far, has stepped forward to match those changes. This blatant value disparity gives the traveling public little reason to choose US Airways for their air travel needs.

Where we stand

Water is necessary for sustaining human life. At minimum, FFOCUS believes US Airways, and all air carriers, should be required to provide unlimited amounts of water to its passengers upon demand. Reduced humidity levels and high altitudes cause strain on the human body that requires replenishment of vital fluids. The level of humidity and the altitude to which the cabin is pressurized are the responsibility of the airline. As such, these conditions must be effectively dealt with by providing free hydration along with a ticket purchase. We acknowledge and accept that soft drinks, coffee, tea, juices and alcoholic beverages are things that anyone can do without. If US Airways chooses to charge for those items, that is their right. We don't like it, but we can accept it. We cannot accept that US Airways intends to subject its passengers to atmospheric conditions that cause dehydration and then refuses to provide subsistence for relieving those conditions.

With the drink purchase program's arrival and the eve of drastic changes to the Dividend Miles program upon us, we encourage you to make your voice heard.

What you can do

FFOCUS ACTION ALERT!

The following links and telephone numbers can be helpful in encouraging US Airways to reverse these changes. We encourage everyone to make use of these resources.

Make your voice heard!

SaveDividendMiles.com - Organized by Randy Peterson of FlyerTalk and InsideFlyer in protest of Dividend Miles program changes, to go into effect August 6, 2008. Be sure to sign the petition.

US Airways Customer Relations - Contact US Airways and make your voice heard. Please note that US Airways Customer Relations only communicates via e-mail and postal mail. Customer relations via telephone is no longer offered, however you may call (866) 523-5333, select option 3, and receive information.

US Airways Executive Office This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it - (e-mail link) Customer relations for Dividend Preferred Customers only. You may also call 480-693-2341. This is the only customer relations telephone number where you can speak to a person.

US Department of Transportation - Consumer Protection Division.