List of outrageous airline fees continues to grow
Although booking an airline over the Internet is often easier, sometimes we just need to hear a human voice on the other end of the phone. But a $15 to $35 charge to arrange your flight through an agent?
Looking for ways to squeeze out more revenue — without scaring off customers by raising fares — airlines have begun charging for the most basic amenities.
Here are a few of the fees that have been branded the most outrageous — either because they seem out of proportion to the service rendered or because they’re really thinly-disguised subsidies for airlines’ operational flaws.
* Ticket change
* Standby travel
* Phone reservation
* Exit row seating
* Peak travel surcharge
* First and second bag surcharge
* Carry on bag charge
* Curbside check in
* Washroom use
* Pillows and blankets
* Unaccompanied minors
What does all this add up to? The amount of hidden fees charged to a typical traveler with two bags ranged from 21% to 153% of the price of the base fare, according to recent analysis from the Consumer Travel Alliance.
What’s next? How about a fee for bringing food aboard? Or a few bucks for asking to move to an empty seat after the plane takes off?
If you're confused about airline fees and would like to make some comparisons, have a look at SmarterTravel’s Airline Fees: The Ultimate Guide. You'll find a one-stop reference chart for every major airline fee from every major U.S. carrier and some Canadian ones to boot.
Which do you see as the worst airline fee going? Have we missed any? Have you found any way around them?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money
Posted by: Kenton Anderson | Aug 10, 2021 10:58:18 AM
First bag surcharge hands-down! It's such a joke and blatant cash-grab! Combine this with the fact that virtually nothing can be brought on carry-on anymore, airlines are getting an extra $20-$25 per passenger minimum for checked baggage.
...though I suppose that for $25 I could just buy things like a razor, nairclippers and hairgel at my destination and just stuff my clothes into a carry-on...
Posted by: C.CHOW | Aug 10, 2021 11:20:58 AM
How about the 20 dollars i was told i will be charged if i book my seat ahead of time? YES,,,anderson is right, very soon they will charged the passengers even for a glass of
water....shame on them......cora
Posted by: ROB ANDERSON | Aug 10, 2021 11:40:53 AM
I bought a round trip on Ryanair in March for May travel. Cheap enough. $30 Cdn. each way. BUT my 2 bags at MAX 15 KGS EACH were an additional $170. When I got sick and had to cancel, I expected to loose my $60. roundtrip fare...but no no, I also lost my prepaid luggage charges of $170. REMEMBER NEVER FLY RYAN AIR OR ANY AIRLINE THAT CHARGES YOU FOR BAGS IN ADVANCE AND DOES NOT REFUND THEM IF YOU GET SICK. I am bloody tired of getting less and less from these airlines. And forget programs like AEROPLAN. It is now the worst program in Canada. Need to book, but can't on line because of the useless website, IF YOU CAN GET A SEAT. THE BIG IF, WITH AEROPLAN. Unless you plan one year in advance, you can never get the seat you want. If you cant book online and need to call an agent you will pay $30. plus HST, and you'll be lucky to find an agent that actually knows what the world looks like and how to get you from A to B. Most AEROPLAN agents are so untrained and so young, they would have a hard time booking THEMSELVES from Vancouver to Toronto, NEVER MIND my trip all over Europe. They were useless! AND if you need to cancel you AEROPLAN reservation within 22 days of travel, guess what? A points recredit fee of $180. plus HST. Are you going to continue to support offensive companies like this? I am not. I now carry the ROYAL BANK AVION VISA card and can travel on any airline when i want to travel.
Posted by: Daniel Dickins | Aug 10, 2021 11:44:35 AM
This kind of crap is happening all over the business world and will continue to spread and get worse. The problem is the CEO mentality that profits must increase every year. It's not enough to make 1 billion this year. Next year, they must make 2 and the next year, 3, etc.
Take Fedex... at least here in Canada anyway. They've probably exhausted all methods to cut costs and increase revenues, so they tack a $6 "pickup fee" on whatever is delivered through their services. Greed.... ya just gotta love it :(
Posted by: Steve Wright | Aug 10, 2021 12:02:10 PM
I tried to follow the link to "Airline Fees: the Ultimate Guide" and was sent to BookingBuddy instead.
Posted by: JR | Aug 10, 2021 12:15:29 PM
Link is correct.
Posted by: rjayb | Aug 10, 2021 12:19:31 PM
I ALSO TRIE TO GET TO AIRLINE FEES: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE, WAS SENT TO BOOKINGBUDDY
Posted by: Jen | Aug 10, 2021 12:20:29 PM
I guess I am one of the few people that appreciate the smaller things. I travel frequently and dont have any issues with fees. Once I was charged for over weight on my luggage and thought this fee was outrageous. The Areoplan comment was totally bashing and one sided. I have booked online with my areoplan, two weeks in advance and never had any problems. But of course everthing doesnt work for everyone!
Yes the same happened to me, clicked on a link and got some advert, thats not good!
Posted by: san | Aug 10, 2021 12:35:38 PM
perhaps clients do not want to pay a fee to a travel agent, but there are some advantages .
when airlines go under sorry out of luck booking on computers, as agencies belong to insurance funds
their clients are covered for refunds. Banks are now saying go to the insurance funds to get your money back AX is one.
Do some research and many that book on computers when they get to destinations hotels overbooked or no reservation. Eveyone feels they are getting the best deals on computers little do they know, agencies many times have the better rates because of the volume of business they do with companies.
Good luck if something goes wrong at least through an agency something can be done only because the companies do not want to loose the business, with the actual client they do not care, as they figure probably will not see that person again.
If you as a client want to spend alot of time researching for a holiday many things you are not aware of when booking on computers, hotel could be under renovation you are not going to be told that. Agency has the resources on their travel system to inform of these things.
cheap is not always good...you get what you pay for..
for those that are out money remember there is always cancellation insurance which would be offered through a agency due to sickness, injury,etc.but if you are not aware of that I guess you are out of luck booking on the computer, don't blame Ryanair. Agents are there to inform and help so clients are not out their money. Seems the ones that complain are the ones looking after their own travel.
Posted by: ruth | Aug 10, 2021 2:27:48 PM
just came b ack from 4 weeks in scotland fine the air lines make the money filling the the belly of the plane with frieght so i have to survive on 2okg of clothes and if you book one way cost twice as much to come back so usual rip of the food often looks like poo good luck no deals anymore.
Posted by: Airline fee...less | Aug 10, 2021 2:37:41 PM
These airline fees are nothing but cash grabs and a way to help them subsidize there losses in fewer customers flying....due to crazy high prices from fuel rises, etc.
Because of the high prices, I started taking a very close look at cost to fly and tend not to run out, get a tic and think nothing of it. Now, with these crazy and costly fees, I am doing just the same, if not being more critical, since the added fees can easily cost more than before most of them existed.
In the end, the greedy ones putting the profits in their pockets will still be dealing with my more careful travel plans, regardless of whether it's due to high prices or the crazy # of high fees.
What I will thank the airlines for is forcing me to take a much closer look at their costs to fly and enabling me to spend my hard earned money in other ways......
Posted by: pete | Aug 10, 2021 5:02:43 PM
Most airlines are now charging outrageous fees for the transportation of "bike boxes". Important to cyclists, triathletes and others these slightly over size durable containers usually weigh LESS than the average checked bag. Fees, which range up to $350, one way, often exceed the ticket price.
Skis, golf clubs, scuba gear and other irregular sized sports equipment get a much cheaper ride. Curiously, the bike boxes sometimes end up being unloaded unto the regular carousel and recieve no special handling.
Bottom line, airline ticket prices are set too low for airlines to make a profit. So, they basically have to scam their profits out of all the special fees. It's contributed to the growing frustration of air travel. The experience becomes more annoying every year.
Posted by: Robin Toupin | Aug 10, 2021 5:05:37 PM
I booked a flight through Air Canada that I had to cancel, with the promise from the airline I could use the $540 flight credit anytime in the next year.
When I went to use the credit on a short flight from Calgary to Vancouver exactly one year later (this is less than half the distance of the orginal flight to Halifax) the 'surcharges to use the credit' added up over FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS. When I challenged the online agent, all he did was say, 'Thats what it costs.' In other words, pay up or go away. I went away.
Needless to say, I paid almost half that using Westjet...and informed Air Canada that it would be a cold day in hell before they saw another penny from me.
Posted by: PaulnToronto | Aug 10, 2021 6:13:39 PM
I have no problem with any airline fees. It's not necessary for me to fly anywhere. However should I wish to do so, and I do frequently, I simply pay whatever fees are requested without complaint. It's not like you didn't know they existed before you arrived at the airport.
I just returned from Calgary to Toronto at the end of July on Aeroplan points and was able to change my flight less than 48hrs before my return flight departure. The agent gave me a choice of a few flights with available seats and some tips on how to find those seats. I've never had a problem with an Aeroplan agent, I've found them to be helpful and friendly, just like me.
In February I flew to Heathrow with Air Canada, and took only carry-on luggage. Air Canada provides a lot of information about baggage on there website. One commenter stated they couldn't bring hair gel on board, I disagree. You can, so long as the container is less that 100ml. Visit your local pharmacy and pick up the travel or promo sizes.
In many instances, this is your vacation. Yes, it's expensive to fly, but you knew that already. Don't let it spoil your holiday.
Posted by: mikekimzk | Aug 10, 2021 6:44:07 PM
It's not the fees the airline charges that are out of control, after all fuel is expensive. The more you want to take on your trip the more you should pay, your helping to use more fuel. The TAXES are whats out of contriol HST, NAV CANADA FEE, SECURITY FEE, AIRPORT IMPROVEMENT FEE. These fees are usually equal to the actual cost of the ticket, but the airlines get the blame. Talk too your mp's it is the most over taxed industry in Canada.
Posted by: Shawn | Aug 10, 2021 7:38:12 PM
So far this year I have paid over $1,100. in Ticket Change Fees, Cancellation/Rebooking Fees, Aeroplan Miles Reinstatement Fees and Seat Selection Fees. This is for the four return trips I have already taken with Air Canada as well as one Aeroplan Travel Reward for Christmas 2010, not yet taken. I can't even begin to add up the other miscellaneous fees such as NAV Canada, Airport Improvement, Surcharges, Taxes and the like. I suppose it is my own fault that I selected the cheapest fare each time and therefore had to pay change fees, etc. I took a gamble and I lost. Other times I have been more lucky. I will do everything I can to avoid paying baggage charges. The air travel industry as a whole (airlines, airports, navigation, government, etc.) is contributing to the overall cost of air travel and with the frustrations of having to endure upwards to two hours for check-in and security formalities for a short flight, then wait another 30 minutes to 1 hour to deplane at the other end, wait for luggage, wait for transportation or pay for parking, the frustration levels have risen to the point where it is becoming more regular to hear about cases of air rage from passengers sick and tired of being treated like cattle. Regard Aeroplan bookings, I certainly have to book about 360 days in advance for travel during busy periods such as Christmas, holidays and the summer periods. Who knows when they can actually take their vacation, or the exact dates of travelling home for Christmas? Oh well, book it and worry about paying the change fees later. This problem is especially acute on routes where there are smaller aircraft travelling less frequently and/or into smaller cities. There are simply very few options. I had to use 80,000 Aeroplan miles just to get my daughter and me home for Christmas, and even then we still could not travel on the same flights because there was only 1 seat available in Business Class and no seats available in Economy Class. WestJet also have change fees, seat selection fees, etc. but they are a bit lower than Air Canada. And it is not just the airlines that are gouging us -- the same thing is happening on utility bills (one month I used $6.00 worth of natural gas and with fees the bill was over $50.00), cell phone bills, cable tv bills, etc. We are being fee'd to death and the government won't do anything about it because those bureaucrats travel on the dime of the long suffering tax payer in this country and then retire with bloated pensions whereby they can afford to pay for all of this crap.
Posted by: charlie | Aug 10, 2021 7:47:20 PM
i was charged a total of close to $200 for checking in for 2 "economy plus" seats and 2 luggage on line!!
i will never fly united airlines again.
Posted by: Bacon | Aug 10, 2021 8:15:04 PM
They charged me $25 for toasted bread!!!!! I love toast
Posted by: Jen | Aug 10, 2021 10:55:46 PM
How can they charge me for an over weight bag when the guy behind me in line weighs 300lbs!
Posted by: Frugalite | Aug 11, 2021 10:19:49 AM
The solution is simple:
DON'T FLY unless there is no choice.
As long as we keep paying, they will keep charging.
Vacation close to home.
If you need to travel over long distances, check other mores of transportation, like driving, trains, and buses.