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Travel Tip: New Airline Fees

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It seems like every day, the airlines come up with a new fee. And for good reason: It’s expected that ancillary revenue will earn the airlines more than $36 billion in a year.

Southwest is doubling its fees for overweight baggage from $50 to $100 and are raising fees to check in early. But here’s the real kicker Southwest is also planning to charge a “no-show” fee on its  lowest restricted fares. And if early boarding is your goal, there is a new $40 that will guarantee that certain passengers will be on of the first 15 to board the plan.

AirTran, a subsidiary of Southwest, is hiking fees on checked, oversized and overweight bags.

American Airlines has introduced a new fare structure for coach seats: There’s Choice, which is the cheapest economy fare with all the restrictions.
Choice Essential costs an additional $68 and waives change fares, allows a free checked bag, and gets you early boarding. Choice Plus is $88 gives you all that plus a same-day flight change and a free alcoholic drink.

Is it worth paying more to avoid fees? It all depends. If you’re traveling for a wedding or other set event, avoiding a change fee probably isn’t necessary.

But if you’re a business traveler whose plans change at the last minute, that extra investment can really save you—not just money, but a lot of headache as well.

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