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Hidden fees raising the price of airfare

March 10, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
With rising fuel prices comes rising airline tickets and that's to be expected, but chances are you're being charged other fees and you may not even know it. There are seven extra fees that could cost you more than the price of the original airline ticket. It's no wonder travelers are staying closer to home.

George Hobica is the president and CEO of Airfarewatchdog.com, a website that keeps an eye on such things.

Hobica says the airline industry has been quietly landing extra fees for awhile now. But it's one thing to have to pay for a meal or a movie, another to pay for making a reservation on the phone or even in person. It could cost you anywhere from $5 to $20 over and above your airfare.

"The airlines want you to book online. They either give you a discount or penalize you for know doing that," said Hobica.

Thinking about bringing your pet on board? Think again. The fee each way can cost up to $100.

"I was sitting next to a guy with a cat on a recent flight. His fare was $149 round trip and the cat was $180," said Hobica.

Even checking in luggage can cost you as much as $25 each way.

"They are finding that fuel surcharges don't stick. They tried to raise the fares and the other airlines do not match and they have to roll back. Luggage fees stick and I have never seen a fee go back they only go up," said Hobica.

If you buy a ticket and then find out the fare has gone down Hobica says that some airlines might give you a refund.

"A lot of people do not realize that when they buy a ticket and the fare drops between the time they buy the ticket and the time they fly some airlines will give you a full refund in the form of a voucher," said Hobica.

But not anymore getting a full refund for the difference could cost you $25 to $200 or more.

Some other fees you might have to pay:

  • Getting a fee assignment could cost you $5 to $11 each way
  • Paying for a lap child could cost you $10 to 10 percent of an adult fare
  • Re-banking frequent flyer miles $50 to $100
"Some people think that there might be coin operated lavatories one day. I don't know if that is true, but anything goes these days," said Hobica.

I think most consumers would challenge that if it ever happened. By the way, if you were charged all of the fees your airfare would go up nearly $500 or more, each way.

 

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