South Africa-based 1time Airlines is a low cost carrier. In order to keep their prices low, they decided against adding any built-in in-flight entertainment in their fleet. Not really a problem, because most of the flights are not lengthy. The bulk of their air time is between their hub in Johannesburg and other South African cities like Durban and Cape Town. 1time does have one longer route from Jo’burg to the Tanzanian city of Zanzibar (approximately 3.5 hours).
The airline has introduced a concept of offering portable entertainment on their planes for rent. On select flights, 1time will be offering PlayStation Portable devices for a nominal fee of 60 rand (about $4.80 US). The rental includes disposable earpieces and last for the duration of the flight. This isn’t the first gimmick for 1time. They also use their extra leg room and leather seats to differentiate themselves from the competition. A novel approach? Other carriers have offered video gaming devices in the past. But this time it is in lieu of in-flight entertainment, not in addition to it.
Like every other airline in the country, US Airways is making cuts and adding charges. But the struggling carrier is going beyond charging for checked baggage and snacks. They are even going to charge you for water. So far that just means bottled water and soft drinks aren’t free anymore. Not many travelers would be surprised if the next round of fees include a charge for flushing the toilet or washing your hands.
The airline has already made drastic cuts. They removed movie screens from planes flying domestic routes, claiming that the extra weight added to fuel costs. Now, the pay-for-water scheme has passengers wondering what’s next.
Airlines seem to be wary of scaring off customers by raising fares significantly. For some reason, it seems that they have no fear of thinking up new fees and smacking you with them when you least expect it.
Sure, the no water thing can be easily remedied. Stop by the terminal convenience store or bring a bottle to fill up at a drinking fountain or (sigh) buy one from the flight attendant.
But, it’s the principle.
Why not raise fees a dollar per person and keep offering water on flights? At least then, people would know what they were paying up front and wouldn’t have to stick their heads under the lavatory faucet to remedy a dry mouth.