The Newest Round of Airline Fees Has Arrived
This may arouse confusing feelings about how to react - should you laugh, cry, or throw a major stomping/screaming fit like the toddler in 8C (that did it for the entire flight)?
Seriously, airline fees are getting out of control—so much so that you would have to think these fees are a misprint. Sadly, they’re not. Take a look and although you’ll think this is some variant of an April Fool’s Day joke, we assure you it’s not.
According to ABC News, on July 1, Frontier will begin charging for beverages. For the bargain price of $1.99, you get your choice of coffee, tea, soda or juice but that’s not the real news. Along with your $2 Sprite, you’re also going to pay between $25 and $100 for your carry-on bag, but only if you book through a third-party site.
In other words, if you book through Expedia (NASDAQ: EXPE) or Orbitz, you fall under a different set of rules than those people who booked directly through Frontier. That’s not all—if you don’t book through the airline, you don’t get to pick your seat in advance.
Want to know who didn’t book directly through Frontier? Just look at all the people with nothing more than a purse and sitting in the middle seat. In a statement, Frontier said that the move is to make its most loyal customers happy.
Let’s not pick on Southwest (NYSE: LUV) too much. It still has that, “bags fly free” policy so props (pun intended) to them. But the airline has also had a little-known policy that allows you to not show up for your flight and rebook without paying a fee. Since merging with AirTran, things are changing—but just a little. According to FareCompare, if you call ahead to say you’ll miss your flight, you still won’t be charged a fee. Say nothing and you get charged. Sounds like a fair rule, don’t you think? Round of applause for Southwest!
Ready for a high school chemistry class flashback? What do you get if you mix one bag that’s over 70 pounds, a trip on United Airlines (NYSE: UAL), and a final destination of Mexico or the Caribbean? What you get is a bag fee of $800! Best word of advice here? FedEx (NYSE: FDX) it!
Don’t Expect any Changes (unless you pay the fee)
Twenty years ago, the majority of an airline’s revenue came from the airfare you paid. Today, it comes from all of those pesky fees. They’re here to stay. The sad words of advice from travel experts are, “if you don’t like it, drive.”
Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Tim Parker had no position in the mentioned securities.
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