August 31, 2010 |
Labor Day is nigh and we're heading into the last big surge of vacation travel of the summer. Could there be a better moment for American Airlines to unveil its latest nuisance fee? American's bright new idea is to charge coach passengers extra for a seat in the first few rows of the cabin, the idea being that these are desirable because their occupants can be assured of getting overhead bin space and get off the plane faster after landing. I can certainly understand the desire to get off an American Airlines plane as quickly as possible.
July 31, 2012 |
For a limited time, American Airlines will take 25% off the cost of choosing to fly in a preferred seat (just the seat fee, not off the cost of the ticket). The sale price of preferred seats -- usually aisle and window seats at the front of the plane -- start at $3 per flight for a limited time. The deal: The savings sound small on this deal, but they can add up. American doesn't divulge the top price for preferred seats on its website; it just says the cost varies by itinerary.
October 22, 2010 |
If there is any upside to airline fees (besides millions in industry profits ), Southwest Airlines may have found it with its Help Us Help Them EarlyBird Check-In campaign. The program promised that for every $10 fee paid by passengers for preferred boarding and early seating between Sept. 21 and Oct. 4, Southwest would donate $1 to help wildlife and habitats in the Gulf Coast recover from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill . The potential amount raised would be capped at $100,000.
January 13, 2012 |
Brent Hopkins, a Michigan marketing manager, was so annoyed that a carry-on suitcase cost him $90 in baggage fees on Sprit Airlines that he launched a business to help other passengers sidestep the charges. Florida-based Spirit Airlines introduced in 2010 a fee of up to $45 for carry-on luggage that cannot fit in the space under the seats. The fee met with outrage, including threats from several lawmakers to impose a special tax on revenue collected from such fees. Instead of fuming, Hopkins created CarryOn Free, an online company that manufactures suitcases that fit the exact dimensions of the space under the Spirit seats.
October 27, 2010 |
As we hurtle toward Thanksgiving and Christmas ( please tell me you have booked your flights by now), SmarterTravel.com has prepared some tips on how to survive the holiday crunch — by paying some airline fees . Yes, you heard right. SmarterTravel's Carl Unger, not Grinch, has written a convincing stress-busting guide to holiday travel titled "Seven Annoying Airline Fees Actually Worth Paying This Holiday Travel Season. " Unger contends that the busiest time of the year for air travel is the only time it makes sense to pony up for extras that bring a little TLC. From more legroom ($10 to $50)
February 10, 2013 |
Airline travel fees - including charges to check a bag and to board early - have become so prevalent that travelers practically need an advanced degree in mathematics to calculate overall trip costs. Last year at least 36 airline fees increased and 16 others were redefined, bundled or unbundled with other services, according to a study by the consumer travel website TravelNerd. One bright spot in the TravelNerd study was that the average airline fee increases were only $5 to $10 each.
February 17, 2013
Here's a new - and outlandish - item for Catharine Hamm's On the Spot column about "surprise" hotel fees ["Will Warning Work?" Feb. 10]. I have been assisting by email a friend in China who is booking hotels and airfares for herself and several clients for a multi-city trip here. Her panicked emails are arriving with increasing frequency as she tries to book an upscale but practical trip for her clients. The latest email wailed about a hotel's notice of $35 a day for a "refrigerator fee. " What nonsense is this?
December 11, 2012 |
Remember when you liked to fly? Bill Knauer does. Knauer, 76, of Laguna Niguel, spent his career in the food industry. He hopscotched all over the country peddling his wares. Fun fact: Knauer says he was the young Swanson executive who introduced TV dinners to Los Angeles in 1959. "I had to fly all the time back then," he told me. "It was very enjoyable. " Not anymore. What follows won't be a news flash to today's air travelers. But Knauer's recent experience with US Airways struck me as a fairly typical example of how a struggling industry has gone out of its way to treat its customers like litter-box leavings.
September 28, 2008 |
It feels as though the airlines are adding extra fees every week. On one trip you have to pay for a blanket, and on the next you're tagged for a second bag. If you shop for your plane ticket based on the lowest fare and not who's flying you, uncovering the potential fees may take longer than planning your trip. Now Smarter Travel, Airfare Watchdog and Seat Guru have compiled an indispensable resource on one page: the Ultimate Guide to Airline Fees at wiki.smartertravel.com/index.