baggage fees Posts

How Many More Fees Can Airlines Create?

As good news comes from Orbitz and Expedia dropping airline ticket fees, the carriers themselves are unleashing new and more annoying fees this month.

We were happy to read that the Online travel agencies realized that their fees were keeping travelers from actually booking. They were using airline websites to actually spend the money after researching the fares on the online travel agency sites.

Now United and US Airways will begin charging $5 more to start the bag-checking process at the terminal. They want passengers to do it all on line ahead of time.

Even Southwest, who have advertised gleefully in recent months about how they don’t charge all of those fees like the other guys, are now getting into the fee scheme. Now they’ll charge a $25 fee for unaccompanied minors on flights, and $75 if you want to bring along your dog in the cabin.

Ryanair has led the way over the years, they even charge a fee for anyone who doesn’t print their boarding pass out ahead of time. It’s $7 to print it out yourself, but if you forget they wack you for a ‘boarding card re-issue’ for a mighty $60!

Those Annoying Baggage Fees Mean Billions in Airline Revenue

On the needle-thin Canadair regional jet, I was cramped and unhappy. That’s because in my carry-on bag the sunscreen I’d brought with me was rudely confiscated by the TSA at Bradley’s security check. They even took a nearly flat tube of toothpaste. “But that’s way less than three ounces,” I complained. “We have no way of measuring that,” said the TSA agent like a dumb robot.

But I was intrigued when I read in Scott McCarthey’s Middle Seat column in the Wall Street Journal that airlines have made a bundle on their new baggage fees. In fact US Air should earn between $400 and 500 million more from such ‘ancillary revenue.’  The fees are becoming the only reliable profit center for struggling airlines.

Despite the majority of flyers like me, who insist on bringing their rolling totes with us and then never being able to fit them in the small overheads of the plane, these fees are still being paid by many, many travelers.

For United Airlines,the total take for ancillary revenue will be a whopping $1.2 billion this year! That’s more than even the airline’s own cargo division hauls in. It also enough to pay a full one quarter of United’s yearly payroll.

Airlines are saying that they expect an uptick this summer, but aren’t sure yet. But one thing is for sure, they’re not going to roll back these lucrative baggage fees any time soon.