Add-on fees add up when purchasing airline ticket

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 16, 2010

There were four fare boxes on an airline ticket when I manually started writing them.

You had a base air transportation fare box, one for federal taxes, one that was unused plus a total charge box.

Add the tax to the base fare and you had the cost of that trip. It was as simple as 1, 2, and 3.

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Today we have fare extensions boxes so the ever growing list of additional taxes, passenger facility charges fees, surcharges, customs user’s fees, 9-11 security fees and other additional charges can be properly accounted for.

Depart the U.S. of A. by air and you’ve added a new list of fees, taxes and surcharges. I’m sad to say that these charges are here to stay as I don’t see any government rolling back these additional revenue opportunities.

The airline revenue folks have been putting in some long hours trying to conjure up new and creative ways to increase ancillary revenue. As one of them put it –“we don’t want to (or can’t!) make our money by flying passengers instead we want to make our profits by charging them for everything else! Preferably we’ll never have to leave the ground”.

Not that these fine professionals need any help but here’s a few suggestions of my own.

How about an airline “ash” just in case it happens here fee?

After all, there are volcanoes in North America. It could happen here so let’s tack on another $5 per flight segment. Wait a minute that’s five dollars if you pay in advance if not then it will be $7.50 at the airport. Just check in at and you’ll save yourself a tidy sum.

Now that we’ve added an “ash” fee now it’s time for a “trash” fee.

Do you expect us to clean aircraft? You travelers are ah well, just slobs. Newspapers, magazines, soda cans, potato chips everywhere.

It costs quite a bit to clean a plane. Not everyone can perform these tasks so we, the airline company has to select and train the very best cleaning crews. People with these skill sets do not come cheap you know.

And let’s add a documents processing fee. We are going to charge you for the privilege of printing out your boarding passes and travel documents. Book your flight on-line at our web site then pay us a nominal $20 convenience fee to have your booking pass sent to your cell phone or emailed.

Then you can print it off at home or the office. Insurance companies have had billing fee for years so the American people will gladly accept and understand this fee.

It’s time to create a “carry on” locker rental fee. You’ll need a permit to store your bags in our overhead compartments.

You can purchase these on a per flight basis for a low fee of $10 per flight. Pay $499 and we’ll give a years’ worth of unlimited overhead space but please you still are limited to one item per traveler per flight.

Let’s not forget the under the seat in front of you storage space.

Pay me $10 per flight segment and we’ll let you store something there.

Opt out of the fee and we reserve to stick someone else’s bag there.

For cash strapped states why not introduce an “air space” fee. Fly over our fine state and we’re going to charge you for that privilege. After all someone has to pay to maintain the skies.

Talk to all the airline revenue management folks and sure the collective responses will be something like “the American consumer will continue to pay all of our silly fees and surcharges.

They will never say enough is enough. We entice them with a low base fare of $198 roundtrip and they’ll never notice that after all the add-on fees and options that their trip actual costs $500.”

Got travel questions? Email them to me at Happy travels!