If you thought paying your airline for meals and checked luggage was bad, you haven’t seen anything yet.
The airlines profited at least $10 Billion last year, through ancillary charges. They are continuing to find new ways to unbundle everything except the lavatories (at least so far).
Here are some either new and/or extraordinary fees that may impact your next trip to Hawaii (or elsewhere):
1. Holiday surcharges. US Air, Delta/Northwest, American and United Airlines have a new $10 holiday surcharge to get you in the spirit of the season. You’ll pay the extra fee if you fly the Sunday after Thanksgiving (11/29) or the weekend after New Year’s (1/2-3). Expect more airlines to join the party and more surcharge dates to be added.
2. Seat selection fees. These aren’t exactly new, but they are going to go gangbusters. I predict to see them en route to Hawaii very soon. This week British Airways added a fee ranging from $30 to $90 to preselect seats more than 24 hours in advance. Exit rows will cost you the most. British claims this is based on customer requests to have, “real control over their flying experience.”
3. Talking with a person costs you two ways. Every airlines seems to charge for talking with their call centers, and some are worse than others. Delta and United will hit you for $25 when you call to book a ticket. To add insult to injury, many of the best deals simply won’t be available through the call center at all. Another reason to book on-line.
4. Mileage redemption fees. Don’t get spontaneous here, or it’s going to hurt bad. American will charge you $100 if you want to redeem miles for a trip that’s within the next week ($50 within the next three weeks). Continental adds $50 if your trip is within the next three weeks, and United will charge between $75 and $100 for redemption within the next three weeks. Delta, however, takes the cake with their $150 fee if it’s within the next three days. Fees are waived for some premium members.
5. Baggage fees going up. Expect to pay from $15 to $30 for your first and second checked bags. After that, the sky’s the limit and fees run up to $125! Expect baggage fees to be going higher, and soon.
6. Pet fees. Don’t take your dog to Hawaii (for every reason). The charge for Fido runs as high as $500 (United).
7. Unaccompanied minor fees. These have now risen to $100 each way.