Hidden Airline fees, sadly are not a work of fiction anymore. They do in deed exist and the truth is these days’ airlines are in fact charging and for everything.
The price tag to travel these days really does include way, way more than just a ticket to fly. It seems, given the opportunity airlines will continue to charge for each and everything item. Remember back in the day when you’d book and pay for an airline ticket and then you never had to give it another thought. You knew that all the things you needed to travel in a most comfortable and stress-free way were already included and taken care of. Luggage check, boarding check, food check and beverages check.
Hidden Airline Fees, The Buck Stops Here!
Like with so many other things the days of all-in flying are a thing of the past. And left in its place is a ton of maddening and unanticipated charges. So say goodbye to the all-inclusive plane ticket and hello to a la carte and piece meal services and charges. In a recent travel poll approximately 66% of travelers stated they were surprised by all the unforeseen and surprising charges. And with the arrival of the dreaded hidden airline fees and the a la carte system, makes it that much harder to travel on a budget or to shop around for the best price and experience.
In an era when air travel is common place, airlines continue to prove that you definitely get what you pay for. So while we may enjoy a complimentary coffee or soft drink, that’s where the buck literally stops. The best course of action when looking to avoid unforeseen and absurd hidden airline fees is knowledge, knowledge, knowledge and the savvy to understand what they actually are.
A Bit of Insight to Hidden Airline Fees
In our continued series on hidden fees, today we tackle the ever frustrating Airline Hidden Fees and what they’re all about.
Luggage – There is a wide range of fees for just about everything related to luggage. Depending on the airline fees can be charged for: a carry-on bag, the first checked bag, the second checked bag, each additional bag and overweight or over-sized bags. One popular airline actually provides a ticket reduction to passengers for not checking luggage.
Phone Bookings – Several of the top North American airlines now charge a fee to those that actually want to speak with a human to book over the phone. And if you choose to book a ticket at the airline counter the fee is even higher.
Priority Boarding – With fares on the rise along with over-crowded flights, airlines are in a position to charge a priority boarding fee just so passengers can be one of the first on the plane. Buyer beware, the honor of boarding first does come with a cost; some say it’s not worth it and depending on the airport it often doesn’t work out.
Seat Selection – Previously passengers were able to request a different or what is considered a better seat and at no cost. If you want to sit in a desired seat; like an exit or bulkhead seat or want more leg room, airlines now charge a fee that allows for passengers to ultimately make that decision for themselves.
On-board Pet – Many airlines allow pets (domestic dogs and cats) in a carrier in the airplane cabin. If a pet is permitted on-board you can bet this perk comes with a fee. And depending on the destination, the pet fee can total more than a plane ticket.
Unaccompanied Minor – Airlines are happy to welcome unaccompanied minor travelers, keeping an eye out during the flight and ensuring the minor passenger gets to and from the gates, all for a fee. Now charging a fee in its self isn’t too stunning but for some airlines the fee can be astronomical.
Food & Beverage – The majority of airlines provide non-alcoholic beverages on a complimentary basis. But that’s it. So for a passengers convenience airlines will provide a selection of meals, snacks and beverages for purchase.
Ticket Change – I have heard that every single airline with the exception of one charges a ticket change fee. Go ahead, you can make a change but be prepared, charges can range anywhere from $50.00 to $400.00.
Item Return – If you leave an item on board and it is found, the airline will definitely return it for a, you guessed it, administrative and shipment fee.
In Flight Headset/Blanket/Pillow – A few of airlines still provide these comfort items free of charge. All the other airlines of course provide these things but at a charge.
Peak Travel – Looking to fly during peak times, you’re not alone and airlines know it and will add a charge for that privilege.
Now that we have all adjusted to the first round of hidden airline fees, rumor has it airlines will be launching a new group of service fees. But for the next round the scuttlebutt on the streets is that passengers will be pleased, really pleased. This time it’s less about passengers being hit with fees for items that previously were included, and more about offering things and services that will help to make flying that much easier and yes enjoyable.