Monday, June 22, 2009

Public Service Announcement - Airline Fees

MSN Money pointed me to an awesome USA Today piece on airline fees. Bookmark this, please. It took the USA Today staffer, aided by airline PR people, a full week to compile this chart of airline fees so that we all know what we are really paying.

Unfortunately, United has about the worst fees. You know how tricksy they are? I didn't even notice the change because I am all online. But if I don't check in online, there is an extra $5 to be paid for checking a bag. Why is that necessary?

I must say that I complained long and loud about the fee for checking bags. My thought was that people were already animals fighting for overhead space, and this would only make it worse. The truth is that I haven't noticed that it is worse. I suspect that the gate agents are getting better at gauging the need for "gate checking" bags and getting ahead of it.

From the article:

"The airlines justify fees as letting customers choose the level of service they're willing to pay for and say passengers are getting used to them. And ultimately, as aviation consultant Michael Boyd says, "It's business, and they (airlines) have the right to charge for whatever they want.""

I guess. But the first U.S. airline that tries to charge for using the bathrooms that they can't even keep clean - well they deserve whatever they get.

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