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That´s How They Getcha:
Airlines Extract $6 Billion
in Fees From Americans

Atlantic Magazine, by Derek Thompson

Original Article

Posted By:LittleHoodedMonk, 1/10/2013 1:24:38 PM

What´s the true price of flying? It´s much more than the price of a ticket. And it has been for a long time. Last year, Americans likely spent more than $6 billion in baggage, cancellation, and change fees, on top of their ticket price, in 2012. (Snip) Fees annoy customers for the perfectly sensible reason that they seem like surprising tricks, since the true cost of flying isn´t shown on their ticket. But the "true cost of flying," if such a thing were measurable, could scarcely be represented on a uniform ticket because it costs varying amounts to fly various passengers on the same plane.

Comments:
While you were being "tickled" and distracted by the TSA, the airlines were socking you with some amazing fees that really add up...for their profits. The charts make it clear that this needs to stop. So, where is Congress protecting US, the consumer?

      


Post Reply  

Reply 1 - Posted by: mitzi, 1/10/2013 1:38:23 PM     (No. 9109235)

I really don´t mind paying baggage fees. I´ve never cancelled or changed - so that´s not an issue.

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Reply 2 - Posted by: NorthernDog, 1/10/2013 1:44:53 PM     (No. 9109245)

The last chart show Southwest as an anomaly - nearly 20% market share but low fees. Perhaps being non-union is the key.

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Reply 3 - Posted by: veritas, 1/10/2013 1:57:38 PM     (No. 9109266)

The airlines offer services for fees. You can take ´em or leave ´em. There are shipping services, after all [I know, not always a convenient choice; I get it]. But no airline can grab you off the street and load you into one of their planes.

The gov´t, on the other hand, offers very few take it or leave it charges. And, IIRC, they hit us all for a lot more than $6 billion.

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Reply 4 - Posted by: Patchy Groundfog, 1/10/2013 2:41:21 PM     (No. 9109365)

It took hotels a long time to figure out something rather basic and obvious: don´t charge $80 for the room and $20 for the breakfast when you can charge $105 for the room and offer a ´free´ breakfast.

Fare wars are a pointless game of oneupmanship between airline executives - the same guys who are given bonuses for losing ´only´ $100 million in a fiscal year. Anyone who has ever attempted to book a flight has never received these magical teaser fares nor do they expect to. The airlines MIGHT try charging by distance and demand the same way hotels do and recovering costs for those meals, blankets and pillows they moan about as well as their baggage handling costs. I´m sure the flight attendants would much prefer it to the game of musical overhead bins that precedes each flight as well as the bellends who attempt to carry a steamer trunk on board.

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Reply 5 - Posted by: tsquare, 1/10/2013 2:47:52 PM     (No. 9109379)

Patchy ... if you are traveling on an expense account with a per diem and pay $105 for a room, you might be tempted to charge the per diem for breakfast and pocket the extra $20.

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Reply 6 - Posted by: jimboendaatl, 1/10/2013 3:29:21 PM     (No. 9109444)

Baggage fees are perfectly acceptable when see the amount of luggage people bring with them when they go anywhere, they need to be charged for that extra weight they bring on board. Plus cancellation fees are bad thing now as well? Come one, the airlines were going broke just a few short years ago and now they seem to be making a profit. Don´t like the fees, don´t fly!

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Reply 7 - Posted by: crimea river, 1/10/2013 3:55:34 PM     (No. 9109492)

Funny how the Atlantic can write an article like this without mentioning taxes.
On a recent trip to Europe and Africa, the total taxes exceeded our total air fare. London Heathrow had the highest. Brits fly out of Manchester, Luton, any airport but Heathrow.


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Reply 8 - Posted by: CheshireLion, 1/10/2013 4:21:37 PM     (No. 9109524)

I live in TN but work in Houston. Flying back and forth between the two. I have used Southwest the most and have even been able to game their own system. How? I book one way tickets to destinations that are on special but change planes in my desired destination. Nashville to Houston is normally a $176 fare one way. If I book to New Orleans or Pensacola I get the special price of $78 but get off in Houston.
--
On the return flight I book to Columbus instead of Nashville and it generally costs $60 cheaper. Flying every week, using points when I can, my average one way trip so far this year is $87.50. Never book a round trip fare. Always look for ways to use their rules to your advantage.

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Reply 9 - Posted by: Ida Lil, 1/10/2013 6:31:24 PM     (No. 9109689)

I flew non stop Allegiant in Sept. The ticket listed a breakdown of every of fee upfront including baggage and I chose which extras I wanted. The round trip to my designation even with priority boarding and cancellation fee was still less than half of Delta American or any other major airline except South West for the same designation. FFA rated as one of the best maintained airlines made the choice easy too.


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Reply 10 - Posted by: Bur Oak, 1/10/2013 6:43:41 PM     (No. 9109703)

The article I didn´t find was, "That´s How The Government Extracts Taxes From Airline Passengers."

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Reply 11 - Posted by: Ken M., 1/10/2013 7:08:52 PM     (No. 9109738)

It´s a tough business and we´ve gotta give ´em credit for trying to survive. Doubtful that any of us here could do any better at it.

A classic quote from Gordon Bethune, former CEO of Continental: "It´s a dysfunctional industry, where you´re only as good as your dumbest competitor"


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Reply 12 - Posted by: RoseOfTexas, 1/10/2013 9:22:34 PM     (No. 9109940)

Several airlines offer 1 free checked bag for their credit card holders (ticket must be booked w/the card but it also works if you´re redeeming FF miles & pay the processing fee w/the card) & the annual fee on the credit card is usually waived the first year. For the advanced frugal traveler, see http://thepointsguy.com/

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Reply 13 - Posted by: pearlyjo, 1/10/2013 10:52:52 PM     (No. 9110026)

I have a United card #13 and have enjoyed the perks. You can also use points to pay the annual fee on the credit card.

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