It hasn’t been easy, adjusting — or maybe accepting — the slew of additional fees airlines tack onto your trips these days.
No more free checked bags, no more meals on board. And on some airlines you have to buy a blanket to stay warm.
And now another airlines has come up with yet another way to make a few quick bucks.
Southwest Airlines is offering passengers a chance to board 45 minutes before a flight’s department — for $40, payable by credit card.
That might be worth it for Southwest passengers, who aren’t assigned seats and can, for $40, get first crack at the best seats and overhead bin space.
Sure, this is a huge advantage and one that’s probably worth another $40. But to me, it’s just another way the airlines can boost their profits — and guess who suffers? Yep, you.
We’ve seen this before. Last year Spirit Airlines, which charges $35 for carry-on baggage during online booking ($50 at the airport kiosk) and $30 for the first checked bag ($45 at the airport kiosk), is now bumping that to $100 if you forget to pay in advance.
That’s steep. And for most of us, traveling is already an expensive endeavor. An extra $100 hurts.
The U.S. airline industry pulls down huge profits for these additional fees. In 2001, baggage fees totaled $3.4 billion — yes, that’s with a “b” — or nearly half of the airlines’ profits.
This isn’t chump change.
So what do we do?
Well, we pay. What else can we do?
I’m guessing these fees aren’t going away; they’re way too profitable. So we may as well get used to it. Like taking off your shoes at the security checkpoint and packing liquids into checked luggage — that you now have to pay for — these fees will become part of the traveling experience.
Just remember to keep some extra cash in your carry-on.
CAT: I have drawn the line for airline travel when they charge for using the restroom.
Flew on Hawaiian this past Sept. to New York, baggage fee but included meals, pillow & blanket. Extra charge if you wanted bulkhead seats (i.e., more legroom). Not bad for a 9-11 hr flight. I know sounds like a Hawaiian ad, but at least they showed a LITTLE aloha!
If you wanted to see outrageous, try flying into Canada & not get sticker shock. The fees & taxes are really sky high (no pun intended.).
I wouldn’t pay another 40 bucks to board early. They take enough money as is already and I’m not paying anything more than I have too.
Considering that most of the Southwest flights I’ve caught, the plane has rolled up to the gate with just enough time for the turnaround to be considered on time… I’ll pass. SWA doesn’t have a checked bag fee (first 2 bags) so the rush for bin space isn’t as stressful.
I was in the industry when these fees really “took off”. pissed us off, too because we had to deal with customers who weren’t ready for/not expecting to pay for things like bags, food, etc. plus, the original buy on board food boxes that we sold were pretty pedestrian. as employees, we didn’t have to pay for bags/better seats (if available) and some other stuff (but we were flying space available if for pleasure travel, so there was no guarantee we’d get on).
for every day travel, you just have to suck it up, imo. fares really haven’t gone up that much, so these things that would have raised the prices if the product was the same are now charged ala carte. I always thought that it would probably make for a happier plane load of people if the airline just raised ticket prices by 25 bucks and gave free bags, but I’m not an airline marketing genius, so I’m sure the math doesn’t work out.
for the amount that you travel, though, I’d try to stick to one airline (or alliance and credit all miles to the same frequent flier program) and try to get status. for 25K miles (the lowest tier, usually) you often get one bag checked free, priority security (if available at the airport), possibility of better seats,etc. you can also take a look at the different credit cards the airline offers and get one of them. they charge a fee, but sometimes the perks meet or exceed the perks you get for the lowest status in the ff program. plus, you get miles for your purchases (rack up enough miles to fly first class, then you get all the perks on that trip).
Games with fees, liked it better when it was all included in the price. If the airlines were smart they’d spin it that it saves money for those who don’t eat or check bags. In the end you were paying for everyone’s stuff right? I do think though the real reason for doing it was to hide price increases necessary to cover higher fuel prices and other costs. Airlines in the past lost a lot of money, some still do.
If you can travel light and live with cramped coach it isn’t so bad.
Might as well just leave your credit card and PIN number at the counter when you check in, yeah?
Happens with de-regulation. Make $ anyway you can.