Which Airlines Are Charging What Fees?

It’s tough to keep track of all the different fees airlines are inventing to keep their corpulent industry from immediately imploding, so here’s the current status, as rounded up by the Baltimore Sun:


• Beer, wine and alcoholic cocktails – $4 (Southwest Airlines); $5 (Delta, United, US Airways, American Airlines) $6 (AirTran Airways)


• Snack boxes and sandwiches range from $3-$8 (Delta, United, US Airways, American)
• Continental Airlines is the sole major U.S. carrier to still offer complimentary snacks (2+ hour flights) and meals (3+ hour flights)
• No sandwiches or meals available on Southwest or AirTran


• Second bag – $10 (AirTran); $25 (American Airlines, Continental, Delta, Northwest, United and US Airways)
• Southwest charges starting with third bag – $25


• Exit row extra legroom – $20 (AirTran); $5 to $35 (Northwest Airlines)
• Window, aisle seats in front of plane – $5 to $30 (US Airways)
• Reserving seat number in advance online – $6 (AirTran)
• Business Select early boarding – $10 to $30 more than highest fare (Southwest)


• $100 (Delta, US Airways); $99 (United); $75 (American, Continental); $75-$120 (Northwest)
• $39 (AirTran)
• free (Southwest)


• $3 per bag (Delta)
• $2 per bag (Delta, United, US Airways, American, Northwest)
• Free (Southwest and AirTran)


• $5 (US Airways)
• Free on United, AirTran
• No in-flight entertainment (Southwest)


• $65 one-way for small pets in a carrier that fits under the seat (AirTran)
• $100 for small pets in cabin to North American locations (Delta, US Airways and United); $95 (Continental); $80 (American, Northwest)

Southwest doesn’t allow pets to be brought on-board or stored as cargo

A good list to have when you’re looking to compare real prices between airlines.

Flying the fee-filled skies [Baltimore Sun] (Thanks to Natan!)

(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. hamsangwich says:

    I’m so pleased to see Jet Blue is not on this list. Thanks Jet Blue for not sucking like every other airline I’ve ever flown.

  2. Buran says:

    The link goes to page 2.

    I fly Southwest when I travel (when at all possible) since they don’t have many (if any) bullshit fees; I’m not sure the “early boarding” fee is really a ‘fee’ since it’s treated as a type of ticket on their website.

    You pick your ticket, you pay for it, and that’s it, no extra charges otherwise. I’ve even changed flights/dates with NO penalty.

    Southwest still treats you like a human being and a customer, not like a walking wallet like everyone else. And they make a profit. Doesn’t that tell the rest that they need to operate like Southwest does, not by alienating their customers? Southwest’s got it figured out.

  3. Buran says:

    @hamsangwich: Yeah, I’d fly them too if they flew to St. Louis. They don’t. I wrote to them telling them that I’d patronize them if they did, and I just got a “we’re looking into future service locations” form letter in response… sad.

  4. spirit charges for the first checked bag ($10 online, $20 at airport) and $20 for second on). talk about weaksauce…

  5. jenalicious says:

    the whole pet in the cabin charge is ridiculous.. you have to pay almost as much as an extra ticket just to have your animal stay in a closed carrier under the seat in front of you. I’d really like to know what im being charged for.

  6. theblackdog says:

    This explains why I got an E-mail this morning at work informing us that extra charges while traveling on business such as picking certain seats will not be covered for reimbursement of expenses unless we have a medical condition.

  7. Last week I flew Northwest for the first time in a few years.

    I was stunned by the for-pay seat options. My choice when the ticket was purchased was either to accept the middle seat all the way in back which was assigned to me, or to pay $15 for a “premium” aisle or window seat.

    Usually I fly AA (often, if not weekly), and for all that they’ve gone downhill recently, they haven’t gone down this path of charging extra fees for seats.

  8. airhed13 says:

    I’m not a frequent flyer (maybe 2-3 flights/year on average), but I have to say that Continental’s always treated me right. :) (I fly out of CLE.)

  9. @airhed13: I second that. I grew up in Houston and that’s still my most frequent travel destination. LAX to IAH on Continental cannot be beat, in price, ease of travel, customer service, or comfort.

  10. DanPVD says:

    The thing about meals isn’t completely fair to Southwest – they do give snacks on every flight and a few of them on the longer stages. I know it isn’t much, but it’s basically the same thing that Northwest charges for a free.

    Also should be noted that the Business Select fare on Southwest also provides a free beer/cocktail, and Rapid Rewards members do often get coupons for a drink.

  11. tinyrobot says:

    Don’t forget Virgin America! $25 each way to ride in the exit row!

  12. coren says:

    I like the 2/3 depending on how we feel like curbside fee for Delta

  13. algormortis says:

    In all fairness, JetBlue does have a better seating fee. You get 38 inches of legroom and to sit right up front for 20 bucks.

    Otherwise, you have to “suffer” with 34 inches. I will resist talking further about JetBlue because i always sound like a shill given how much i love them, and that they’ve changed tickets they shouldn’t have for no charge just by asking nicely, and, oh yeah, they’re nice to me. Then again, United has always been perfectly nice to me, as have Air Canada, Virgin America, and the neglected customer service rockstars of Hawaiian Airlines. Gosh, Hawaiian rules.

    I do often pay off United for Economy Plus, which gets me 36-37 inches. Amusingly, i have really short legs, i just like being able to keep my legs bone-straight with a bag under my seat, and i find that e-plus has more seasoned travelers who won’t be a pain in my butt.

  14. cjstephens says:

    The list overlooks United’s extra charges for Economy Plus, perhaps because they are so variable. This past week I was offered an “upgrade” (i.e., a seat I could actually fit my 6′ 2″ frame into) on a flight from Dulles to Albuquerque for “only” $44, and from Denver to LaGuardia for $54. These prices strike me as something more than the mere surcharges the other airlines are offering. I don’t mind the concept of charging more for extra legroom, but I resent it when the regular seats are too small for someone who isn’t freakishly large. This will be the last time I fly United.

  15. Benjamin Edick says:

    Also for Pet Travel, check out Pet Airways they offer flights from $150 for pets to travel in the main cabin, not in cargo.