Prediction – Fees will Rise
Airline fees that were once unthinkable may become the norm; blame it on the rising price of oil. Plus, watch for price hikes in existing fees, too.
I’ve been studying the matter, and the following are what I consider to be the six likeliest new or changed fees in the coming year. Get on Facebook and tell me if you agree or disagree – or have your own ideas for new fees we’ll see.
Bonus: At the end, I’ll tell you which fees we probably won’t see in 2011.
Top 6 Likely New Airline Fee Changes in 2011
These are real possibilities in the coming year:
- No More Free Rides for Infants: Currently, babies under the age of two fly free if they sit on an adult’s lap on flights within the U.S. Don’t be surprised if airlines start charging half-priced fares for these lap children.
- No More Free Meals in Coach on Transoceanic Flights: United Airlines tried this without success in the last 18 months but if the price of oil keeps rising, look for others to try this – and make it stick.
- Charging for Overweight Carryon Bags: Hawaiian Airlines already charges an overweight fee for carryons weighing more than 25 pounds; look for others to try this, too. Airlines may find policing this a pain, but presumably a new revenue stream will make it easier to bear. See our Domestic Baggage Fee Chart for more.
- Charging for Soft Drinks and Water on Domestic flights: US Airways gave this a whirl a couple of years ago but within a few months, dropped the unpopular policy. However, I think it’s likely this is an idea whose time has come – again.
- Award Redemption Fees: Paying a fee to redeem your free ticket has already happened; Northwest (now part of Delta) tried it during the last fuel crisis; again, check today’s oil prices – this could happen.
- Bundled Fees: This is something we’ll supposedly like: pre-packaged or bundled fees for a discounted price. Another form we might see this in is using branded credit cards to save more on fee bundles.
Airline Fees You Probably Won’t See in 2011
No, I don’t think we’ll see fees for oxygen masks or lavatories or similar, nor these:
- TV Turn-off Fee: So those annoying programs quit interrupting your catnaps
- The Apple Fee: For those who want to watch videos on a seatmate’s iPad
- Record-the-Delay Fee: For using a smartphone video camera to document a 3 hour tarmac delay
- Reclining Fee: For using your seat as it was intended
- Online Reservation Fee: To make reservations on an airline website (Spirit excepted)
- Carryon Bag Fees: Yes, Spirit does it attracted such scorn from the public that I don’t expect other airlines will try it. Yet.