Purchasing plane tickets can be a painstaking task. First, you comb through options to see what fits your schedule, then you search high and low for a price that meets your travel budget. But upon arriving at the airport you’re faced with fee after fee and pretty soon, that travel budget goes out the window. Those days might be over, however, now that the U.S. Transportation Department has proposed a new rule that would require airlines to directly disclose basic service fees. [More]
What’s funny about math is that sometimes when you take a close look at it, it can tell you a lot about who’s doing the calculating. Fuel surcharges added to ticket prices by airlines have increased twice as fast in the last year as the actual fuel prices they’re supposed to be compensating for. So can you really call them fuel surcharges or just extra charges tacked on to make a dollar off travelers? [More]
Our friends over at NerdWallet are always coming up with useful, easy-to-use tools that sift and collate financial information that is normally scattered in a lot of different places. Most of these tools involve credit cards and banking, but they’ve recently opened a travel section. A handy new tool on the site lets you calculate the fees that different airlines charge for the same options, such as checked baggage, rebooking, or unaccompanied minor tickets. This makes it easier to compare airfares that might seem cheap before you start piling on fees. [More]
Low cost, no-frills Spirit Airlines takes heat from people annoyed with how it charges a fee for everything and for its crass and tasteless ads that capitalize on scandals and tragedies in the news. We’ve dished some out ourselves. But it’s hard not to walk away from reading this AP interview with its CEO and business model mastermind Ben Baldanza without some new respect for the guy. For one, he turned around a money-losing airline and it’s been profitable ever since. And at least this airline is upfront about how they’re gonna give it to you. [More]
Reader Jeremy says that his attempts to be polite and have everything taken care of for someone who was doing his organization a big favor were made more difficult by a secret, unpublished “prepaid baggage fee” that American Airlines attempted to charge him.
Cancellation fees and change fees bring in a staggering $2 billion a year for the airline industry. Some airlines now make even more from these fees than they do from the much-maligned checked-baggage fees. And, like most airline fees, they’ve gone up: the average ticket change fee is $150, compared to $100 last year. Budget carrier JetBlue recently upped its fee to $100 from a manageable $40, and now even penalty-fee holdout Southwest Airlines is considering jumping on the bandwagon.
If the NYT is to be believed, the CEO of Ryanair, one Michael O’Leary, was not kidding when he said that the low cost airline would be installing pay toilets on board their aircraft. In fact, it seems that these hypothetical toilets will be accepting credit cards.
US Airways CEO Doug “OK To Drive” Parker says that US Airways new $15 fee for the first checked bag is a huge success. It’s caused a 20% drop in checked luggage — which has improved baggage handling performance — all while adding revenue during a tough time for airlines.
And let’s not forget the exorbitant booking fee for using miles for one of our tickets. The actual FLIGHT was only $280 round trip per ticket, but with the booking fee TO USE THE MILES TO PURCHASE A TICKET, we wound up paying over $500.
The AP says that the new mergeriffic Delta will be adding a $15 fee for the first checked bag and $25 for the second checked bag when traveling domestically, which is consistent with Northwest’s existing policies.
US Airways says that their decision to start charging for water, coffee and soft drinks is working — because no one is buying them.
United Airlines is just super crappy at fuel hedging, says Wired. Now that oil is trading at less then $100 a barrel, it turns out that United is paying more than that — and more than other airlines:
United Airlines has decided that $25 was too generous a price to check your second bag with their airline, and have announced that they’ll be bumping the fee up to $50.
Reader Colin says he just got charged for his first checked bag on Northwest Airlines:
Airline fees are a controversial topic these days, so we look a look at the fees that airlines were charging and picked the top 3 most and least “fee crazy” airlines. Avoiding fees is hard, so why not try to avoid the airlines that charge them instead?
Travel expert to the stars Christopher Elliott has a new column that explains 4 new or grotesquely inflated airline fees and some ways to get around them…
The bad news is that because of high fuel costs, United Airlines and US Airways will be following American Airlines in charging a $15 first-bag fee. The even worse news is that most of the remaining airlines will probably follow suit with the exception Southwest who locked in their fuel prices several years ago. Since the airlines are attempting to cash in on baggage fees, SmartMoney offers some tips on how to avoid them. The tips, inside…
Bookmark this: Rick Seaney has created a chart of all the airline fees and promises to keep it updated as the fees change. [Rick Seaney]