There are all kinds of annoyances involved in flying, whether it’s that jerk in front of you who slammed his seat back into your knees or the fees you pay to check a bag and select your seat. But one of the most infuriating things for passengers these days? Not knowing how much your airfare will cost by the time all is said and done.
Though Frontier Airlines might be known for unbundled flight fares, instead choosing to offer a la carte options like checked and carry-on bags and seats with more legroom as add-ons, the airline is jumping back into the bundling arena with a new option that charges a flat fee for certain extras.
Because you can’t just fly under anyone’s name, some airlines institute a fee for travelers seeking to change the name on their already purchased ticket to ward against reselling them for a profit. But not everyone wants to pay for mistakes, like one student who decided he’d rather spend the money to change his name and get a new passport than pay Ryanair to fix a booking error.
With all the extra fees tacked on by airlines – bag fees, WiFi fees, seat upgrade fees – it can be hard to remember exactly what you paid for each of these add-on charges. Visa customers won’t have to worry about keeping things straight anymore, as the credit card company now plans to breakdown airline charges on monthly statement. [More]
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.
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?
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.
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.
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: