Who Has The Worst Fees In Surcharge-Riddled Travel Industry?

Traveling these days seems to just be a case of a fee here, a fee there, fees everywhere you turn, whether it’s by land, sea or air. But which part of the industry is the very worst when it comes to hitting consumers with extraneous charges?

Travel journalist extraordinaire Christopher Elliott polled his readers asking that very question, and had some somewhat surprising results — namely, that airlines weren’t seen as the baddest offenders, even with their fees to check bags, eat, have more legroom, etc.

In reverse order, from just bad to the very worst, here are his findings:
• One percent of respondents pointed at travel agents, the non-online kind, who charge booking fees for their various services.

• Cruise lines were dubbed as the worst surcharge offenders by only four percent of those polls, perhaps due to the fact that many of us aren’t in the habit of cruising. Keep an eye out, however, as most cruise lines aren’t really “all-inclusive.” More like, partly-inclusive and you’ll have to pay for special things like snorkeling or a massage.

• Airlines! As if they could ever squirrel out of a list like this. Around 25% of the pollees stuck it to air carriers for their plethora of fees, which the companies rely on for revenue.

• Don’t pick up that canister of peanuts at a hotel or you could be hit with a fee, and don’t stick your mom’s pearls in the safe if you want to avoid getting charged for it. Just over a quarter of the respondents pointed at hotels as the worst offenders.

• And the very worst, as chosen in the poll? Rental cars! Congratulations! About 44% of the poll’s respondents dubbed rental agencies as the most dastardly with fees and taxes for their vehicles. Before you drive it’s the license recovery fees, the taxes, the GPS options, yada yada, and afterward it’s the refueling charges, insurance you didn’t know you signed on for, and more!

Congratulations to all the winners. Which do you think is the worst?

Who has the worst fees in the travel industry? [Elliott]