I was reading an article about the top 5 most outrageous airline fees. They listed the following 5 as the most outrageous (in no particular order):
- Pick your seat
- Book your reservation at the airport
- Change your ticket
- Carry-on luggage
- Third and fourth checked bag
I think that it is debatable on what could be considered the top 5. It can also vary depending on the country, airport and airline.
I think was causes the most annoyance is that airlines advertise only the “cheapest” plane ticket, without any of the additional fees. That cheapest ticket is usually during off peak hours and usually sold out very fast anyway. But once we start the reservation process, all the additional fees kick in and we end up with a price that could be hundreds of dollars more than what is advertised.
When I walk into a store, if I were to buy an article of clothing, I see the price, let’s say $19.99. All I know is that I will have to add tax to that price and I’m done. I wish airlines could do the same. First of all, there are fuel surcharges and airport fees. I wish those prices could already be included in the price of the airline ticket. It would be so much simpler if we already added all the possible items into the plane ticket and the only additional item would be taxes. Fuel surcharges and airport fees definitely apply to every single plane ticket. They are not pay per usage type of fees, so that’s why they should have definitely been already included in the fare (before taxes).
As for all these extra fees that are considered “pay per use”. I am definitely on the side of being annoyed by all the additional fees. But at the same time, I see it more as a result of a strong demand and low competition between airlines. The pay per use fees are definitely customer unfriendly. But companies don’t need to be friendly when they are making a lot of money. It just means that they can squeeze more money out of us. Usually I would encourage unhappy customers to give their business to the competition.
The issue arises when the competition are all charging the same unfriendly fees. So what I suggest is that whenever possible, I go with travelling by car, train or bus, whichever fits your budget better. I do understand that train and bus ticket prices can be high if you do not time your purchase at the right time. Gas prices are also constantly going up as well. So there isn’t too much in favour of travellers.
Unfortunately it may take a market-meltdown for the prices to start coming down. Therefore, if you really are a fan of travelling, I strongly recommend that you constantly earn points whenever possible and take advantage of bonus promotions so that you can use these points to help with your travel costs.