Flying used to be fun.
Going to the airport was always an exciting experience.
Now you have to steel yourself. Not just because of the new security checks, but because most of us are convinced that airlines are ripping us off by nickel and diming us to death.
We feel that way, because they are.
Probably the most annoying one is the fee to check a bag. There are a couple of things you can do. You can avoid checking and put your bag in the overhead bin. But the bag may be too big, or the bin may be full. You can board early to get an empty bin, but they charge you for that, so you trade one price gouge for another.
Just remember, two airlines don’t charge you. JetBlue allows one free checked back, and Southwest allows two. That may be the way to go.
Airlines have been pushing frequent flyer miles for years, and many have found the best way to use your points is to upgrade from coach to business or first class. But now theres a fee for that. It’s as little as 425 for a short domestic flight, but the more usual is $75-150. And for overseas, it can be $2-300.
“There’s no way around that,” says Ed Perkins of SmarterTravel.com. “And they’re getting to a point where they don’t really make sense.”
It’s just another airline ripoff.
How about fuel surcharges?
“That one is really a scam where the airlines arbitrarily break the fare to what should be the real price of their product,” he told us. “Well a ticket should cost $700. But we’re going to say the airfare is only $300 of that and the rest of it is the fuel surcharge of $400. And that’s just ridiculous.”
High one-way fares?
Online booking fees?
“And it’s been exacerbated by the emergence of the internet search engines that make it so easy to compare everybody in the marketplace,” Perkins says. “And where it’s very important for an airline to look like it has the lowest fare. And it’s not just true in airlines anymore. The hotels are doing it big time with their resort fee scam.”