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?