Airlines Thinking Up New Fees For Summer

Airlines are gearing up for summer with a suite of new fees and costs for travelers. Among them:

Fuel surcharge - longer trips may have customers paying for the extra gas
Seating assignment – preferential seating, at a cost
Flying standby – fee for the favor
Extra baggage charge – mo bags, mo moneys

Some of the fees are still in discussion, while others have been only adopted by one or a few airlines. But with times seeming to always be getting tougher for legacy carriers, they’ll all be looking at each other to see who is developing new revenue streams. — BEN POPKEN

Airlines pile on the fees [CNNMoney] (Thanks to Jaideep!)
(Photo: Ben Popken)

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  1. dragonflight says:

    So fares are going down but fees are going up? This reminds me of an airline in India, Air Deccan. They’d have the seat for something in the neighborhood of $20, but the taxes/surcharges were another $50-60.

    Hopefully the airlines restrain themselves from this method, as it just confuses those who don’t use an online service like kayak.com (highly recommended by the way) which tell you the price including fees and taxes.

  2. ohayorisa says:

    Haven’t the airlines been charging for extra baggage for awhile now? Or are they increasing the baggages fees even more?

  3. lapilot says:

    If people still insist on flying across the country round trip for $100 then the airlines have to make it up somehow. Jet fuel at O’Hare for example is at $6.35 a gallon now, extra baggage means extra weight which means extra fuel used.

  4. formergr says:

    Most of the fees have been in place (though some only temporarily) for years now– it’s nothing new.

  5. Spider Jerusalem says:

    Man, there’s so much more they could be charging for! oxygen tax, cabin pressure tax, getting-to-the-right-destination surcharge…

  6. humphrmi says:

    @ohayorisa: s/extra// . Some airlines are going to start charging for baggage, period.

    lapilot: Airlines have always charged for fuel, only in the past it was called the “fare”. Charging extra for something that you already charge for is stupid. My gas station doesn’t charge me a “fuel surcharge” for the gas I buy; it’s included in the price! And let’s talk about your use of the word “extra baggage.” Airlines have always charged for “extra baggage” – if you take three or four or – hell, once I took like eight bags on a flight. Yeah, that’s been charged for a long time. But one bag is not “extra baggage”, it is “baggage”, i.e. again “what you’ve already paid for”. And it’s disingenuous given that the airlines know damn well that people never checked bags are checking them now because the TSA won’t let them take their toothpaste in their carry on. How does a bag I used to put in the overhead bin that is now sitting in the belly of the plane “more weight”?

  7. B says:

    There was a slate article a while back by their economist guy explaining why “Fuel Surcharges” that were charged by the delivery companies are a dishonest way for them to raise prices. Same thing here.

  8. shdwsclan says:

    Ha, now there a joke….

    But yeah….fare is fare…
    What i dont understand is for example…$5 to ship a package and you get charged a $1.25 fuel surcharge….
    Why, if gas goes up, doesnt the price for shipping to….so please…UPS/FEDEX/DHL don’t be assholes about it…it costs 6.25 to ship the package not 5.00 and 1.25 fuel surcharge…

  9. lapilot says:

    @humphrmi:

    OK, let’s say that you use your car as a taxi. It costs you $20 to fill it the tank. Gas prices rise and it now costs you $30 to fill up the tank. Wouldn’t it make sense to add a surcharge to your fare in order to make up for your extra expense? And can you pleae direct me to which airline is now charging for ALL baggage?

  10. Pelagius says:

    Other fees the airlines should consider:
    1. Professional steward/ess fee: $20 for a stew who doesn’t have the attitude of a Soviet Border Guard and the fat can to match
    2. Not stealing things from your luggage fee: $15 dollars to bribe our luggage handlers not to steal your shit with impunity
    3. Lost luggage finding fee: Bag lost? That will be $50 if you want us to look for it

  11. Erskine says:

    @lapilot:
    “It costs you $20 to fill it the tank. Gas prices rise and it now costs you $30 to fill up the tank. Wouldn’t it make sense to add a surcharge to your fare in order to make up for your extra expense?”

    Only when you DON”T keep raising the farkin’ “fare” amount.

  12. Indecision says:

    @lapilot: “Gas prices rise and it now costs you $30 to fill up the tank. Wouldn’t it make sense to add a surcharge to your fare…”

    How is that even the first thing you think of? No, it doesn’t make sense! What makes sense is to increase your fare!

    But, fine, since we’re playing this game, I’ll price you all out of business. I’m offering flights from NYC to Las Vegas for only $0.35. That’s right, thirty-five cents. Oh, by the way…

    Fuel surcharge: $100
    Pilot surcharge: $50
    Co-pilot surcharge: $20
    Steward/ess surcharge: $15 x 5
    Checked luggage surcharge: $50
    Luggage handling surcharge: $25
    Flight Plan Filing surcharge: $20
    In-flight magazine surcharge: $10
    FAA Inspection surcharge: $20
    Upholstery maintenance surcharge: $10
    9/11 Security Surcharge: $10
    Air Marshal Surcharge: $10
    Ticket printing surcharge: $5 [*]

    [*] The ticket printing surcharge can be avoided by printing your own boarding pass on our website, for a $6 convenience fee.

    That’s where we’re headed if companies keep getting away with the surcharge game.

  13. axiomatic says:

    Heres an idea. Take an extra week off from work and drive to your vacation location. At least until the airline industry decides they want to “play nice” with us again.

  14. RandomHookup says:

    I prefer an airline that passes the hat before we land. Not enough collected? Sorry, not landing for a while. Enjoy that rerun of Punky Brewster.

  15. FLConsumer says:

    Charge the passengers by the pound. Not their luggage, but their own fat asses! $1.10/lb, should be enough to handle most fares, and with American’s lack of restraint when it comes to food, you’re guaranteed future profits at a rate faster than inflation and gas price increases!

    For us skinnies in the crowd, we’d LOVE to fly around the country for ~$130. Maybe this would even encourage the airlines to bring back a full meal service on the planes. Bring it on!

  16. Trick says:

    Fuel surcharge for longer flights?

    So why is that when I fly from Los Angeles to San Francisco, I pay $200.

    Yet when I fly from Los Angeles to New York, I pay $350.

    Seems to be I am already paying for the extra fuel on the longer flight, right?

    Airlines suck. Put them up against the RIAA instead of Haliburton and NOW you have a vote!

  17. FLConsumer says:

    Did some more thinking on this…it might very well work…

    Pricing for cargo on US Air:
    http://www.usairways.com/awa/content/traveltools/cargo/zon

    $0.66/lb for “premium”… thus my $1.10 figure isn’t THAT far off.

    Charging extremely fat passengers does appear like it could be quite costly.. For those special people, I think we can cut them a break around the 300 lb mark… and bill them the excess as a “tonnage rate” billed at the cargo rates.

  18. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    Here’s another idea: get passengers to their destinations on time, train your flight attendants to say things like “thank you for flying with us” and “would you like an extra bag of peanuts?”, train your gate agents to be competent, train your flight attendants to do things like *GASP* SMILE AND BE NICE TO THE PASSENGERS. Train your customer service staff in the complex art of CUSTOMER SERVICE.

    Legacy carriers are the classic business school case study of how NOT to treat your customers, along with HP, Microsoft, and others.

  19. acceptablerisk says:

    You know, I could have sworn it already costs more for a long-distance ticket…

  20. humphrmi says:

    @lapilot:

    OK, let’s say that you use your car as a taxi. It costs you $20 to fill it the tank. Gas prices rise and it now costs you $30 to fill up the tank. Wouldn’t it make sense to add a surcharge to your fare in order to make up for your extra expense?

    No, it would make sense for me to charge a price that is honest based on my costs and a fair profit. But airlines don’t want to tell us they have to raise fares, so they (dishonestly) tell us they are keeping them low and then tacking on “surcharges” that amount to the same increase.

    And can you pleae direct me to which airline is now charging for ALL baggage?

    Spirit Air: http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/070306/20070306005463.html?.v=1
    In fact this is a prime example of the most dishonest type of this scam: “We’re LOWERING fares!*) *As long as you don’t want to check bags, have a beverage onboard, or a snack.

    Air Lingus is another one, no link here but you can go to http://blogs.usatoday.com/sky/fees/index.html and just search on Air Lingus.

    FlyBE is another one.

    I’m pretty sure I heard a new discount start-up is planning on doing the same thing, can’t remember the name, but hey … there’s a few up there for you.

  21. s00p3rm4n says:

    Untied’s fat-luggage fee is now either $50 or $75 per overweight bag, depending on who you ask.

  22. cabinaero says:

    @s00p3rm4n: General rule for domestic and flights entirely within North America is that it’s $50 if over 50 pounds. (Nothing over 100 pounds is accepted — that needs to go as freight.) International overage rates aren’t uniform because of fuel costs and local regulations.

    http://www.united.com/page/article/0,6722,1034,00.html

    Definitely write United if you were charged $75 when you should have been charged $50.

  23. seattlegirl says:

    @IRSistherootofallevil: Giving away extra bags of peanuts is stealing from the company!

  24. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    It’s an example. Maybe if, instead of paying useless and incompetent CEO’s tens of millions, fire them and invest some of that money in training flight attendants to care. And I’m sure if I asked for an extra bag of peanuts most reasonable people would give me one. It costs the company, what, a cent? As a CEO, I’d be willing to invest much more than that per customer if it meant high satisfaction rates and higher customer retention. But it seems as though most CEO’s are so hung up on the short term and are so lacking in common sense that they don’t care about word of mouth advertising (positive or negative) or serving the customers that make the business.

    why can’t they all be generous and caring like Hilton? My sister asked the manager if she can take the little hot chocolate package thingies (there were, like, 4-5 of them), and the manager, shockingly, said yes. It might have had something to do with the fact that she was 9 at the time.

  25. mac-phisto says:

    @IRSistherootofallevil: a lot of these workers cared when they were younger & worked for a start-up carrier. having seniority in the airline industry is not necessarily a good thing. it means your pension is in danger, your job is in danger, everyone hates you b/c your flights are $400 for a puddle jump, your employer has laid off every possible unnecessary worker + another 10,000 or so, you probably took consecutive pay & benefit cuts over the past 3 or 4 years & when you get your stock reports for your employee shares, you notice that the only people that actually seem to make money are on the executive board.

    & yes, that was almost entirely one sentence.

  26. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    That’s beside the point. If I hire someone to do a job, I don’t care if I’m going to fire that person tomorrow and they know it. They had better do the best job they possibly can up until the minute they get the pink slip.

    If they don’t there goes that glowing reference.

    Anyway I personally don’t care if flight attendants took paycuts for the past 15 years, they should be thankful they have a job. Besides that, for the moment, I’m on a plane expecting somewhere along the lines of good service, so I’d better see those flight attendants caring about their jobs.