Photo Credit: Thomas Barwick
Travelers Are Becoming More Annoyed With Hidden Airline Fees
A new study revealed that hefty hidden fees are causing travelers to be annoyed with major airlines. Passport Photos Online surveyed 950 Americans to find out how they’ve experienced hidden fees over the last few years while flying.
Believe it or not, 86% of Americans have encountered hidden airline fees. Most don’t realize the extra charges until they arrive at the checkout. Not only that, but according to the survey, nearly 60% of survey participants feel like hidden fees have increased since the Covid-19 pandemic.
With fees surmounting and summer travel coming up soon, many American travelers are taking a closer look at airline fees and seeking alternative methods of transportation.
Airline fees have a long history among American airline companies. According to FareCompare, smaller airlines like Spirit began charging fees for checked bags around 2007. A year later, American Airlines made history as the first legacy carrier to charge for checked bags.
Originally, checked bag fees were around $15. Now, all legacy carriers, including United and Delta, charge upward of $25 for checked bags. Currently, Southwest is the only airline that allows two free carry-on and checked bags.
Rules around airline fees have continued to change over time. In 2009, many airlines began charging surcharges for flights during peak holiday seasons. Today, depending on the carrier, travelers can expect to find hidden fees on everything from seat selection to boarding pass printing. According to the survey, 58% of Americans have encountered hidden fees exceeding more than $100.
Although 10% of travelers surveyed believe there’s nothing they can do about the hidden fees, 36% try to find ways to avoid the fees. However, 87% feel the Department of Transportation should regulate extreme airline fees and force airlines to disclose fees upfront.
In his February 2023 State of the Union address, President Joe Biden said his administration is “cracking down” on junk fees from airlines, hotels, and banks, according to CNBC.
“Junk fees may not matter to the very wealthy, but they matter to most other folks in homes like the one I grew up in, like many of you did,” Biden said before Congress. “They add up to hundreds of dollars a month.”
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, American travelers spent more than $6.7 million on airline baggage fees in 2022. With traveler annoyance growing more each year, Biden says airline junk fees are under scrutiny and that the needs of Americans will be addressed.