On Your Side
Extra travel fees are adding up, but can you save money in the longrun?
Kim-Marie Evans is always traveling and is shocked by the newest add on expenses that she discovered on her latest adventure. "It's not even nickel and dimed. It's being twenty dollar'd to death. It's for everything."
From a $5 printing fee for boarding passes, to a $3 bottle of water, to blankets for $6.99! It's not just on airlines. Other examples: A nearly $4 fee for a 30 minute childrens' TV show in your room at a major hotel chain, and a $7.49 daily surcharge some rental car companies are charging for a toll pass transponder.
Kim Orlando works for travelingmom.com. She says, "It always amazes me at how creative these airline companies, car rental companies, hotels can be when it comes to fees."
The travel companies stress they have extra expenses, too, including higher fuel and food costs. Airlines for America, a group representing the airline industry, says they're just following the lead of other industries. John Heimlich says for example, "Baseball parks, we don't go and expect a hot dog and a coke for free. We pay more for better seating."
So, the argument is that unbundling, or breaking down the extras into options you can pick and choose, is actually intended to save you money.
"These are optional services. Not everyone has or wants to check a bag. Not everyone wants to buy a meal, rent a dvd, buy a coca cola, so the airlines are under the pressure to offer the lowest fare possible to those who just wanted that," Heimlich says.
Kim-Marie makes adjustments, like only packing carry-ons, but she hates thinking of what could be next. "I'm really waiting for there to be a coin slot in the bathroom on the airplane."
Meantime, Airlines for America points out customers do have the final say on fees.
"The marketplace will sort it out and ones that customers simply think are unacceptable will quickly be rescinded," Heimlich predicts.
That law of supply and demand also applies to hotels, rental cars and other transportation companies adding extra fees.