Airline upcharges – there appear to be no limits

I am not exactly certain when the implementation of supplemental airline fees such as bags, seat choices and food came to be standard operating procedure. I believe it was the food first, and then the bags and now seat choices. One thing is certain, supplemental fees have become paramount airline profitability and are not going away ever.

The United States is the undisputed champion when it comes to implementing fees for just about everything on airlines. It appears to me that now if you want the lowest cost seat on the plane it will be in the middle, in the back (probably last row) and the likelihood of finding space in the overhead bin for carry-on luggage nearly zero. Of course the airline then will be happy to check the bag for you – something that they are not yet charging for but I am betting they will eventually. Spirit Airlines even tried to charge $ 45 to use the overhead bin a couple of years ago.

As many people know there are even ‘opportunities’ to change your position in getting on the plane – an express lane option that gets you on the plane with the ‘Elite’ status and first-class passengers. This can secure your place in an overhead bin. As I now only take carry-on it is of particular significance to me personally, (I recently returned from 2 weeks in China and only took carry-on – you can do it too folks) but I am determined to not pay the airlines ANY additional fees to board the plane sooner.

Movies, food, internet access, legroom – there seem to be unlimited opportunities for the airlines to make that $ 150 or $ 200 one way fare increase by $ 25% or more. What’s more the additional fees are pure profit – they go straight to the bottom line.

The worst thing is that there is nothing people can do about it. The airlines have not yet begun to charge for pillows and blankets but you can bet they have discussed those ideas. Changing a flight has resulted in additional fees for several years, but now even if you are stand-by for an open seat airlines are beginning to charge a fee.

What’s left? Well my associate and I were joking about charging for bathroom access on planes. And then it was not so funny since what’s to stop them? Once price for #1 and another for #2? It seems to me that if a fee can be imagined it’s not far from being implemented.

Air travel today in the U.S. (and don’t think the rest of the world isn’t taking notes) is nothing more than a flying bus in the air.

Do you have any other odd airline fees that you’ve been charged?

About markkolier

Futurist, entrepreneur, left lane driver
This entry was posted in Living in the World Today, Travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Airline upcharges – there appear to be no limits

  1. Hi Mark, I beg to differ on the US airlines being the kings of supplementary charged. Ryanair have to take the podium on this one – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-1263905/Ryanair-toilet-charges-phased-in.html. Ryanair modeled its business on Southwest and are now probably the largest airline this side of the pond. The charges never materialized but as you know any publicity is good publicity. They even incentivise their staff to double check baggage. Staff are paid £5 for every 10 passengers they spot with baggage over the allowable carry-on weight restrictions. Each bag can cost between £15 and £55 to check in, each way. However, every year the airlines increase the amount of passengers they carry – we all moan but cast your mind back 15 years and remember how much you paid for that 2 hour internal trip…….and I know in Europe if it wasn’t for airlines like Ryanair 20% of the population would never had left their doorsteps.

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  2. Pete says:

    You stated : he airlines have not yet begun to charge for pillows and blankets. On my last US Air flight to Vegas they were charging for that. Alaska Airlines had a very funny commercial years ago about charging for the bathroom, by the end the guy was hopping up and down on one leg and begging someone to give him a quarter for 5 bucks. It was hilarious, but soon that will no longer be a joke.

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  3. markkolier says:

    THanks Chris and Pete for your comments. I am aware of Ryan Air and it’s proclivity for creative upcharges. I beleive it’s also an airline that is really sturggling. And as for U.S. Air and their charge for pillows – I had forgotten that I had heard that elsewhere. If you can think of it the airlines will charge you for it. That you can count on.

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