Friday, May 10, 2013

Airlines Charging More Fees

I have never flown Spirit Airline. Its fares are suppose to be very cheap. As in VERY! They make up for these low fares by adding on a whole bunch of fees such as fees to check your luggage AND fees to carry on your luggage. Now they have done away with their toll free number and "to better assist you" have a phone number where the caller pays. This is suppose to be better for the customer????

Frontier now charges for soft drinks, coffee and water. Frontier also charges a $100 fee for your carry on if you do not buy your ticket on Frontier's web site. But wait! Maybe that ticket is more than $100 cheaper on Orbitz or Travelocity or another online travel site. So maybe it makes sense to buy from a site other than Frontier's and pay the fee. (Yes, I'm confused too).

All of the major U.S. airlines have raised change fees from $150 to $200 per ticket on non-refundable fares, the most common fare purchased by travelers.

And Southwest is changing its "missed flight" policy. Used to be you could just be a no-show and use the value of your ticket for another flight. Now, if you won't be able to make a flight, be sure to call and cancel. Otherwise you'll find yourself paying a fee.

Unfortunately, airlines don't advertise their fees because ... let's face it ... fees don't make great PR. USAirways, for instance, changed its pet policy. Pets are no longer able to fly as cargo and there is an in-cabin fee of $125. Flying with a heavy suitcase on United? If you are flying with a 70 lb bag to and from Mexico or the Caribbean, you'll find yourself paying an extra $800! (This is definitely the case where it is cheaper to buy a second bag and check two 35 lb bags instead).

If you fly Ryanair and arrive at the gate without a boarding pass, the gate agent will print one for you and charge you $108 for the service. Air India raised its overweight charges while lowering the weight for no-fee checked luggage. So that bag you used to fly with for free may now cost you $50.

The moral of this story is check your airline's website before heading to the airport. Actually, check it before you buy your ticket and check it again before you pack your bags. You don't want to be caught off guard by a rule that changed since you last flew.

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