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.