Flier frustration mounts over sky-high airline fees
September 23, 2010 ·
However, opposition to à la carte pricing is anything but unanimous, with some travelers arguing that the onus of knowing what’s included and what isn’t is on travelers themselves. A user-pay model, they say, fosters greater freedom of choice.
“It’s like purchasing any other service or product,” said Mylon Stark, a once-a-month flier from Pierre, S. D. “If you buy a car, you can buy a basic, standard-issue model. But if you want 17-inch chrome wheels and a built-in GPS, you’re going to pay extra. People should expect to pay extra for things that other people aren’t going to use.”
The groups behind Mad As Hell Day are actually OK with that. For them, the issue isn’t the actual fees, but rather, their disclosure — who has access to the data via what distribution channels and at what point in the purchasing process so travelers can get a clear picture of the actual price of their airfare.
However the disclosure issue is ultimately resolved, it’s safe to say that à la carte pricing is here to stay. According to the latest government figures, U.S. airlines took in $2.1 billion in ancillary fees during the second quarter of the year , up 15.8 percent over the same period last year. Baggage fees alone jumped 33 percent to $893 million.
Business arguments aside, it’s also safe to say that that’s likely to rankle a good portion of the flying public, just as it does Raskin of Las Vegas: “My husband and I go to Los Angeles five or six times a year and we don’t even fly anymore,” she said. “We drive because it’s gotten so ridiculous.”