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7 of the Most Excessive Airline Fees

AirplaneAir travel can be expensive. But over the last few years, it seems like the price of flying is getting more and more ridiculous—and, I mean, “ridiculous.” In an attempt to make up for the loss of sales due to the recession, airlines are adding new fees for services that used to be complimentary. The worst part of these added fees: often the airlines don’t make them known until they hit you with the bill. Here’s my countdown of the sneakiest added airline fees:

Extra Airline Costs

1. Blanket Fee

In 2010, American Airlines began charging passengers $8 for blankets. Perhaps I’m old-fashioned, but I much prefer the days when we could expect to find a blanket sitting on our seat, for free, when we first boarded.

2. Online Booking Fee

Spirit Airlines in 2011 increased their online booking fee from $8.99 to $16.99 each direction for domestic flights. To conceal this increased expense, Spirit veils it under the heading of “passenger usage fee,” although we all know what it really is.

3. Carry-On Fee

Even as the price of checked luggage continues to climb, I still count on having a free carry-on. But not so. Both Allegiant Air and Spirit now charge for carry-on luggage. Allegiant set their carry-on fee as $35 in April 2012. Shortly after, Spirit saw Allegiant’s fee and raised theirs to $100. At that price, I might as well buy everything I need at my destination!

4. Second Bag Fee

If I’m traveling through Europe for 6 weeks, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to bring 2 checked bags, do you? In June 2012, United raised their price for a second bag for a flight to Europe, Africa, Middle East or India to $100. US Airways also charges $100 for your second checked bag on transatlantic flights. Good news: Delta only charges $100 if you fail to check a second bag online for your trip to Europe. If you mark it online beforehand, it’s only $80. What a steal!

5. Credit Card Booking Fee

As of August 2012, Allegiant Airlines charges extra if you choose to book your flight online and pay via credit card. This is troublesome for me since I don’t know any other way to pay.

6. Early Boarding Fee

Southwest Airline decided to reward the first 15 people on the plane with something special: a $40 charge. In January 2013, Southwest added their early boarding fee that allows passengers to pay additional money to be one of the first people on the plane. Because who doesn’t love extra time in a cramped airplane with limited air supply?

7. Third-Party Fee

Frontier Airline recently announced in May 2013 that they will start charging extra for anyone who books their flight through a third-party, such as a travel agent or websites like Orbitz or Expedia. Disclaimer: these additional fees do, in fact, provide perks such as carry-on luggage. But, again, why are we charging for carry-on bags?

What’s Next?

Seems like nothing’s off limits when it comes to the airlines adding extra fees. But what about booking seats together? With airlines allowing more and more people to reserve window or aisle seats, it’s becoming more challenging by the day to book seats together without paying extra. This could prove to be a challenge for families in the future, but hopefully the airlines will figure it out before it becomes an issues for parents and their young kids!   Anna Albi is a graduate from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, where she received a B.A. in Creative Writing with an additional major on Professional Writing. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Arts in Professional Writing, also at CMU. Feel free to reach out to her through Google+.

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