Airlines to Start Charging Additional Fees

If you thought your airline ticket was expensive enough already, just wait till you see the fees soon to be introduced

Credit: TV Week

Airlines could soon start charging for overweight carry-on bags, soft drinks and more

To raise revenues, many airlines are now looking 
at charging for more services than ever before

These days, air travellers seem to pay extra for everything from checking their baggage to in-flight meals to reserving a seat. And now they can potentially expect even more fees to come. The strategy taken by a lot of airlines lately is to offer fliers low fares, but then to claw back those initial savings by charging for anything extra.

Recent figures show the global airline industry is poised to earn as much as US$22 billion from so-called “à la carte” fees and other ancillary or extra services from 2010.

In a nutshell, if it’s not tied expressly to getting you from point A to point B, there’s a chance you will be charged for it sometime soon.

According to recent forecasts, ancillary revenues are likely to account for 35 per cent of overall airline revenues in the future. That’s over a third of the airlines’ annual intake.

We know that many complimentary meals, alcohol beverages and headsets have already been cut. So, where might we see the airlines start to charge extra where they haven’t already?

Services Airlines May Soon Be Charging For

For a start, look for potential fees related to lap children. Many parents with children under two years of age avoid booking a separate seat, and instead have their children sit on their lap during the flight. Considering airlines already charge fees for lap kids on international flights (about 10 per cent of the adult fare), a similar domestic charge is not entirely out of the question.

The more self-service options the airlines offer, the more they can save on salaries and other personnel costs. One of the only ways to encourage people to use those options is by charging for the alternative. Some industry experts have noted that being charged to talk to a human being on the phone is something the airlines might consider.

Look also to possible first-bag fees on international flights. Some airlines already have a first-bag fee on domestic flights, so instituting the policy for international flights is not out of the realm of possibility.

Charging for overweight carry-on bags has always been a threat, but it’s difficult to police. Hawaiian Airlines already charges an overweight fee for carry-ons weighing more than 25 pounds, so you can look for others to try this, too.

Other Potential Airline Fees

There’s no shortage of ways airlines can find to hit you even harder in the wallet. Here are a few more possible service fees you may see in the near future:

  • Fees for meals in coach on transoceanic flights (no more freebies)
  • Charges for soft drinks and water on domestic flights
  • Fees for reward redemption or 
free ticket credit redemption
  • Fees for booking pre-packaged holidays.

Watch Claire Newell on Global BC News: Final (Mon.), Early (Wed.), Morning & Noon (Thur.), Noon (Sat.). Or catch her Tuesdays at 8:30 a.m. on Shore 104 FM.

Originally published in TV Week. For daily updates, subscribe to the free TV Week e-newsletter, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.