Fees, Fees and More Fees (Airlines)

U.S. domestic airlines, suffering from an excess of red ink, have been trying to battle their way into profitability one dollar at a time. Much to the exasperation of the traveling public, airlines have begun charging their passengers for anything and everything that they can. 2008 will be remembered in airline history as the “Year of Fees”.

Airlines are now charging for:

  • Baggage fees
  • Food and beverage fees
  • Seat assignment fees
  • Frequent flyer award fees
  • Pillow and blanket fees
  • Booking via telephone fees
  • WiFi fees

While AirTreks strongly disagrees with this petty, nickel-and-diming of its customers, if this is the direction the airlines want to travel to achieve profitability, why are they stopping with fees for window seats when there are so many other ways for the airlines to shake the change from our pockets?

  • Fees for carry-on luggage
  • Fees to use the overhead bin
  • An excess space fee, if the seat next to you is empty
  • Fees for access to the restroom
  • Fees for toilet paper
  • Fees for oxygen
  • Excess weight fee—anyone who weighs more than 90 pounds, gets charged by the pound
  • Fees for the use of a seatbelt
  • Fines for not using a seatbelt
  • Fees for opening the window shade and enjoying the view
  • Fees for closing the window shade so that you can sleep
  • Fees for talking with a flight attendant (this fee may be waived in the case of an extreme emergency)
  • Excess aircraft time fees, if your flight is delayed while you are on board
  • Early arrival fees for flights arriving ahead of schedule
  • Tolls to use the jetway to enter and leave the aircraft
  • A fee for bringing your own food or beverage on the flight, akin to a restaurant’s corkage fee for bringing your own bottle of wine.
  • A bidding system for passengers who want to get off the flight first

Sadly, I’m sure the executives at the major U.S. airlines are studiously investigating these and any other fees that can bring them a few shekels more. If any are reading here, my advice to them is: Provide good, courteous on-time service and a simple fare structure. The world will beat a path to your ticket counter.