U.S. Airways returns to free sodas

Feb. 23, 2009 at 12:54 PM

TEMP, Ariz., Feb. 23 (UPI) -- US Airways said Monday it would reverse its policy of charging passengers for non-alcoholic beverages on flights starting March 1.

While many airlines added charges in the summer of 2008 for everything from handling a second bag to preferential seating to pillows and a blanket, US Airways found itself flying solo regarding charges for soft drinks, tea, water and coffee.

"We are firmly committed to the a la carte model and believe it's the right one for our business," said US Airways Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Doug Parker in a statement.

However, "it is also a work in progress," he said. "US Airways was the only large network carrier to charge for drinks and that put us at a disadvantage."

The airline said it still expects to take in between $400 million to $500 million in 2009 from checked baggage fees, preferential seating charges and other "a la carte" items.

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