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Travel Tip: Unexpected Airline Fees

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Airlines are now required by the Department of Transportation to be more transparent with their fees. And you might be surprised by what you’re asked to pay for. Here’s a hint: It’s more than just checked bags.

It’s no surprise that the airlines now charge to make a reservation over the phone. But these days, some airlines are even charging to book tickets…online! Spirit Air is the worst offender, raising its online booking fee to as much as $34. My theory is their marketing slogan is, “We’re not happy unless you’re not happy.”

Allegiant Airways has a similar fee. It’s $17 to book online, or $17 per passenger, plus $15 per segment if you book over the phone. In my book, that’s insulting, unnecessary and it’s robbery.

The real problem is that it’s not just the budget carriers that are levying fees. The DOT figured out that this past summer, the largest airlines have collected $1.5 billion from checked luggage and reservation change fees alone.

If that’s not nickel and diming, I don’t know what else to call it.

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