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Travel Tip: Increased Fees and Fares

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While I hate to be the bearer of bad news, we just saw another round of airfare hikes and ancillary fees. Here’s what’s happening out there.

It all started with Delta a few weeks ago, when the airline raised its fares by $10 each way on flights longer than 1,500 miles. The other airlines, like United-Continental, US Airways and American, matched it almost immediately.

But the real news was when low-cost carriers Southwest/AirTran and Frontier followed suit.  Well, guess what? It’s happening again. Southwest raised its fares again, this time by $5 each way. Within days, all of the other major U.S. carriers followed.

In fact, Southwest—known as one of the low-cost carriers—has raised its prices about 7 percent over the last year.  And the reason? No surprise here: it’s to combat the rising price of fuel. We’ve seen it at the pump, and airlines are no exception.

Then there’s the worst of the bunch: Spirit Airlines. No, they’re not charging to compensate for rising fuel costs. They’ve added $2 for… an “unintended consequences” fee. Believe me, you can’t make this stuff up.