… or, at the very least, shell out $1 for a 12-ounce can of soda on American Eagle, a regional branch of American Airlines. American Eagle is testing this on Los Angeles-based flights and, if successful (and these things rarely aren’t successful), they will share the love throughout their routes.

The airline is citing increasing competition from low-cost carriers, as well as higher fuel costs, as the reasons for implementing the charge for sodas (no word on whether water will be part of the fee-based beverage scheme). However, I find this hard to believe: a flat of soda costs about $13 at Costco. That’s 24 cans. An American Eagle CRJ or ERJ jet holds between 35 and 70 passengers. So you’re talking about $52 for a two-drink serving on most flights – and that’s at consumer prices. At wholesale, and with purchasing volume, the cost is probably closer to $25 for a 96-can allotment per flight. Divvy that up per passenger, and you’re talking less than $1 per customer.

So there’s some silly penny pinching going on here.

Let’s just say that the big, dinosaur airlines (and their regional carriers) are still extremely bloated enterprises that need to retool their business models. Unfortuantely, this will mean paradigm change – something that big businesses are deathly afraid of, especially those where the upper-level executives earn more and more at the expense of the hard-working day laborers (in the case of the airlines, these are the pilots, flight attendants, ground and gate crews and mechanics).