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Extra airline fees add up

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I just read an article about how much the airline industry makes in extra fees and was mind blowing

Airlines' annoying fees add up to $31.5 billion

 

We usually fly SouthWest, and take our own snacks on the plane so we rarely pay anything extra, but the few times I've flown other carriers, I'm amazed at all the extras they come up with including paying for headsets, snack packs,  ....(and the list goes on) 


 

Quote:

Snip from article: 

Less than half of those fees are paid directly from customers' pockets to the airline. For a typical U.S. airline, about 25% of the revenue comes from baggage fees and 10% come from other a la carte services, such as early boarding and the sales of soft drinks. About 5% comes from package deals, such as hotels, rental cars and insurance programs.

 

You're paying for that flight one way or another. 

post #2 of 17

I'll be glad when the integration of AirTran into Southwest is finished.  Having to figure out a different check-in process for AirTran legs is a pain, especially when traveling with my daughter.  Hope SW sticks with the current policy of 2 free checked bags.  Makes a big difference for ski trips out west now that I own all-mountain skis.

post #3 of 17

So a few years ago, was either 2007 or 2009, I was flying from Logan airport in Boston to Colorado for some skiing and I had 2 bags to check, one was my clothes, and my other was my ski bag. I believe I was still able to check 2 bags for free then, but the guy behind the counter (who wasn't much older than me) said that I would have to pay extra for the ski bag due to the size, and half jokingly I replied "Come on, don't you have the ability to waive the fees for luggage?" To which he responded that he could only do that for mobility equipment. So me being the wise ass I am, said "Well technically this is mobility equipment since I use it to aid and assist in getting me down a mountain. Without it, I'd have no way to get down easily" 

He kind of looked at me and paused for a second, and then proceeded to waive the extra baggage fee without saying a word. I was surprised he actually did it, but he looked like he absolutely hated his job and didn't really care.

I want to see if this would still work now.

post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

I'll be glad when the integration of AirTran into Southwest is finished.  Having to figure out a different check-in process for AirTran legs is a pain, especially when traveling with my daughter.  Hope SW sticks with the current policy of 2 free checked bags.  Makes a big difference for ski trips out west now that I own all-mountain skis.

 

Southwest has become the skiers airline for that reason with good flights into most major ski destinations. 

post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiNEwhere View Post
 

So a few years ago, was either 2007 or 2009, I was flying from Logan airport in Boston to Colorado for some skiing and I had 2 bags to check, one was my clothes, and my other was my ski bag. I believe I was still able to check 2 bags for free then, but the guy behind the counter (who wasn't much older than me) said that I would have to pay extra for the ski bag due to the size, and half jokingly I replied "Come on, don't you have the ability to waive the fees for luggage?" To which he responded that he could only do that for mobility equipment. So me being the wise ass I am, said "Well technically this is mobility equipment since I use it to aid and assist in getting me down a mountain. Without it, I'd have no way to get down easily" 

He kind of looked at me and paused for a second, and then proceeded to waive the extra baggage fee without saying a word. I was surprised he actually did it, but he looked like he absolutely hated his job and didn't really care.

I want to see if this would still work now.

Most airlines make an exception for ski bags and golf bags in terms of being over length.  But usually pay close attention to being under 50 pounds.  However, that's for flying around the U.S.  My understanding is that different rules apply in Canada and Europe.

post #6 of 17

The biggest differences that we have noticed flying internationally are that:

 

many airlines consider a separate ski bag and boot bag as two bags, regardless of combined weight, hence using double wheeled ski bags at close to max weight;

 

Cabin baggage is restricted to a max 10kg, often 7kg; and

 

What constitutes a personal item is much more restrictive - generally much smaller; e.g. a laptop in a sleeve with nothing else in it is a personal item, but a laptop in a laptop bag stuffed with other stuff is not. Similarly, a back pack is not a personal item.

 

So you get pretty good at packing and choosing what to take and what to leave behind.

post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
 

 

Southwest has become the skiers airline for that reason with good flights into most major ski destinations. 

 

I read this constantly on this site, but where do you have to travel from/to for Southwest to be cheaper?  For the past 3 or 4 years I have checked Southwest's prices (flying out of Newark) for any trip I have taken and it is always more expensive than United or Delta, even with paying for baggage. Do you have to plan way in advance? Because I typically do wait till the last few weeks.

post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by RatherPlayThanWork View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
 

 

Southwest has become the skiers airline for that reason with good flights into most major ski destinations. 

 

I read this constantly on this site, but where do you have to travel from/to for Southwest to be cheaper?  For the past 3 or 4 years I have checked Southwest's prices (flying out of Newark) for any trip I have taken and it is always more expensive than United or Delta, even with paying for baggage. Do you have to plan way in advance? Because I typically do wait till the last few weeks.

Can't say that I've compared prices that often from RDU.  When I do, SW is usually comparable or less to Delta.  If you have to fly on weekends, then SW prices are probably not that great.  For me, I have flexibility being retired so the other advantage is being able to change flights without penalty.  Meaning you only pay for any fare difference, if any.  That's meant I've extended late season trips to Alta more than once to play in fresh powder.  One year I paid $20 extra while my friend paid $200 to change his flight.  But he had no regrets since the storm dropped 12+ inches!

 

BWI is a hub for Southwest.

 

I've heard of working folks who book long weekends to SLC when there is a SW fare sale in the fall.  If the weather is not cooperating a few weeks out, they simply cancel and rebook for a better date later in the season.  You have a year from the time of booking to use the credit.

post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RatherPlayThanWork View Post
 

 

I read this constantly on this site, but where do you have to travel from/to for Southwest to be cheaper?  For the past 3 or 4 years I have checked Southwest's prices (flying out of Newark) for any trip I have taken and it is always more expensive than United or Delta, even with paying for baggage. Do you have to plan way in advance? Because I typically do wait till the last few weeks.

We are signed up to get notices when deals come up.  For us, its relatively easy to get a non stop flight to Denver from Reno. 

 

When we check flights to Michigan to visit family, not so easy to find a deal and usually end up getting a flight on Delta. 

post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by RatherPlayThanWork View Post
 

 

I read this constantly on this site, but where do you have to travel from/to for Southwest to be cheaper?  For the past 3 or 4 years I have checked Southwest's prices (flying out of Newark) for any trip I have taken and it is always more expensive than United or Delta, even with paying for baggage. Do you have to plan way in advance? Because I typically do wait till the last few weeks.

 

Look at the total cost of SWest with free bags vs the others with "plus painful add on prices".

 

Buy that flight at least 3 weeks in advance

post #11 of 17

I agree Southwest has become a more expensive carrier over time and it has been a while since I have flown on it.  What still is so attractive about it which has already been stated is the ability to cancel flights and use the credit for a later date.

 

I am glad the airlines are finding profitability as I never understood their business model in the past, but I do miss the really good deals.

post #12 of 17

Airline credit (affinity) cards often come with perks like at least one bag free.  Sometimes you can get the first year free.  And upgraded seating (Economy Plus on United for example).

 

Mike

post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maineac View Post
 

I agree Southwest has become a more expensive carrier over time and it has been a while since I have flown on it.  What still is so attractive about it which has already been stated is the ability to cancel flights and use the credit for a later date.

 

I am glad the airlines are finding profitability as I never understood their business model in the past, but I do miss the really good deals.

Some of the other things I like about SW are the boarding procedure and curb site check in(not all carriers have curb side as consistently as SW).

post #14 of 17

I got a direct flight from New Orleans to Denver on SW for $203 per person round trip.  We have to drive a couple hours to get to New Orleans, but it's worth the savings and the direct flight.

 

I guess it depends on which city you're flying in and out of.

post #15 of 17

Just booked RDU-SLC in late Jan for $352.  Helps that I can fly on a Tuesday.

 

Have heard that the current low SW fares may end August 28.

post #16 of 17
Airline status is tremendously valuable for skiing.

I'm Chairmans on US Air, which translates to nearly 100% upgrades to first class, 3 free bags, and no change/cancellation fees for award travel (for everyone on my ticket)! Makes the redeye back to CLT from SLC much more bearable, and let's me book last minute flights to powderchase for only 20k miles.
post #17 of 17

You can always get one of the airline credit cards to help offset the fees. Sometimes you come out way ahead, even after paying the annual fee (mostly after second year).

 

That being said, I think I remember hearing the CEO of Southwest say something like "We're not going to run our airline based on an advertising campaign". I take this to mean that they will consider adding fees in the future.

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