Report: Add-On Fees Roughly Doubled in 2010 for Airlines

We have previously discussed the dysfunctional effects of baggage fees. Airlines have made air travel a punishing experience with passengers now carrying huge bags on the airplane to save money. The result is that some airlines have actually told travelers not to put their computers or jackets in the overhead compartments — penalizing those who do check their bags. Now a report confirms what we all knew: airline baggage and other add-on fees have gone up 96 percent in just three years. That is an extra $21.5 billion for the airlines with United Airlines leading the pack.

Wisconsin-based IdeaWorks found that 47 airlines charged $21.5 billion for ancillary fees in 2010. United Continental pulled in $5 billion last year in such fees.

Delta took second place in this dubious competition with $3.7 billion followed by American with $1.9 billion.

I now try to avoid air travel because it is so unpleasant from long security lines to the cattle car environment with baggage on the airplane. Everything has been cut out if it constituted a comfort. Airlines now charge extra to have room for your legs. The leg room in coach is now virtually zero for a person with average height. It is virtually impossible to use a computer and, if the person reclines in front of you, you are left with a seat pressed firmly against your knees. First class is now what coach once was and coach is what baggage storage once was. The baggage fees have made security lines longer and made taking off a truly hellish experience on many flights. In the meantime, cases of entrapped passengers on planes and fights due to seating discomfort continue without any response from regulators.

With an army of lobbyists at their disposal, airlines have made sure that Congress has done nothing to help average travelers. Airlines are steadily moving toward the cattle-car approach of Ryan Air with standing-only flights, reduced crews, and paid toilets.

Source: NBC

14 thoughts on “Report: Add-On Fees Roughly Doubled in 2010 for Airlines”

  1. Can’t really take the train across the country or internationally when you only can be out of town for a weekend or a few days…

  2. Deregulation has always been the enemy of working people and always will be, contrary to the mantra of right wing talking points drummed into the heads of the citizenry with propaganda sophistication that Goebells would have been proud of.

  3. I too remember the bad old days when flying was a pleasure instead of a prison sentence.


  4. Don’t despair! United is about to introduce a Summer Economy Half-Price Fare. There is no charge for baggage, but the passenger has to run along the ground beneath the plane to his destination.

  5. Frank:

    I remember those bad old days. I also remember walking outside to the gate, waving goodbye to loved ones and turning and waving again as I hit the top step of the stairs before entering the plane. And I know that those experiences will have to remain memories.

  6. And THAT (well that and the inability to take time off for long enough to take a trip) is the reason I haven’t flown in several years, well that the whole TSA thing.

  7. Anyone else here old enough to remember the bad old days of Federally regulated airlines? In those bad old days you knew the price of the ticket included bags & soft drinks, bags of peanuts, comfortable seats with leg room for actual adults, on time flights on clean planes that you knew were actually maintained, pilots that had adequate rest – it was horrible, just horrible I tells ya!

    I traveled for 20 years, often in excess of 100k miles a year, and watched first hand as this brave new world has been unfolded on us. I don’t know who the big winners are but the big losers are the flying customers, the small towns no longer supported and everyone else that relies on air transport.

  8. My wife and I spent a week on Cape Cod last fall. In order to avoid the absurd weight limitations and excess luggage fees imposed by the airlines, we sent all of our dirty laundry and miscellaneous items home by Fed Ex and saved about a hundred dollars.

  9. Of course, with comfort decreasing as prices increase, and people avoid flying whenever they can, the airlines will lose money. They will respond to this by demanding a bailout and increasing prices more, while continuing to reduce amenities.

  10. See and poor ole American Airlines….was third….Did not some Asia Airline top the list…..Well…the Passenger Bill of Rights is suppose to be out in August or October….we will see….it is supposed to list all fees before you finalize the tickets on line….

    On a side not…a Federal Judge ruled that American has to let Orbitz back on….

Comments are closed.