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Airline News


Friday, July 11, 2008

Last Showing For US Airways' In-Flight Movies

In-flight movies are the latest casualty in a long list of discontinued passenger perks that airlines have leveraged as a way to offset soaring jet fuel prices.

Late Wednesday, US Airways Group said it would remove in-flight entertainment systems on domestic flights starting in November. The systems eat into aircraft fuel supply since they weigh a whopping 500 pounds each, saving the airline some $10.0 million, annually. Shares of the Tempe, Ariz.-based airline operator lost 13 cents, or 5.0%, at $2.48 during mid-morning trading on Thursday.

US Airways said that while systems will remain on international flights and Hawaii-bound planes, roughly 200 aircraft will lose their systems. Spokesman Phil Gee said the company will test lighter, seat-back entertainment sets later in the year.

The surging price of jet fuel has forced airlines to eke profits out of passengers by charging for previously complementary services like baggage checks and in-flight meals and drinks.

Passengers aren't the only ones bearing the brunt the industry's budget woes. Airlines are aggressively slashing costs by cutting jobs and diluting employee benefits.

Northwest Airlines blamed high fuel prices for its decision to cut 2,500 jobs, charge $15 to check luggage, and enact fees ranging from $25 to $100 for travelers redeeming frequent-flier award tickets. American Airlines was the first to announce checked bag fees, which have since been employed by US Airways and United Air Lines. Both American and Delta Air Lines charge for frequent flier award redemption. US Airways is the first to eliminate in-flight entertainment systems.


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