U.S. Airways will charge for that beverage, unless you make a fuss

A few days ago Josh brought us a report about U.S. Airways beginning to charge customers for water — bottled for now.

On August 1, U.S. Airways introduced fees for beverages like soda, juice and water that used to be free.

U.S. Airways is the first domestic carrier to go this route. Other carriers are all but guaranteed to follow suit soon.

It’s pretty much a fact of life flying in America these days: If it’s on board, it’s going to cost you.

That is, unless you feel like making a big fuss about it.

Airline passengers have an ally against these seemingly trivial beverage charges: Flight attendants, the majority of whom are adamantly in favor of revoking them.

The New York Times reported the other day that the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, the major flight attendant union, is objecting to charging the $1 and $2 for nonalcoholic drinks. The union went a step further: If a passenger objects, flight attendants probably will just give them the drink for free.

“We’re trained to keep order on an airplane and defuse confrontation,” Mike Flores, president of U.S. Airways’ chapter of the union, tells the Times. “If it take giving a free beverage to somebody to do that, so be it. I expect there will be flight attendants who just give everything away.”

A U.S. Airways spokesman tells the Times that the airline has advised its 6,700 flight attendants to “err on the side of the customer” when making a decision whether to defuse a confrontation by handing out a free beverage.

So, there you have it folks: A major domestic carrier saddling its employees with a new fee policy that they do not want to enforce, and in many cases likely won’t in the end.