U.S. airlines are in a fee frenzy, as a new chart from Airfarewatchdog.com shows: $150 to change a ticket, $100 to fly as an unaccompanied minor, $35 or so for a window or aisle seat. No wonder the industry hauls in more than $12 billion a year from fees and other so-called ancillary revenue, by some estimates.
The latest target is carry-on bags. Low-fare upstart Spirit Airlines, which pioneered cabin bag fees, recently raised its top charge to $100. Last year, Allegiant Air started charging too. It’s not just the money that motivates these moves. It’s the drive to reduce delays. With fewer carry-ons to juggle, boarding is a breeze and planes get off the ground more quickly.
Major airlines “would love to institute carry-on bag fees,” says George Hobica, Airfarewatchdog president. What’s stopping them? Customer pushback may not even figure in. “If you have to fly, you have to fly,” Hobica says.
Instead, company bean-counters worry that they would have to hire more staff to handle anRead More »from Airline fees: the sky is the limit