Entries in Airline fees (4)


United Airlines Raises Fee for Changing Flights

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The next time you book a flight on United, you'll want to be very sure about your plans, because changing them just got more costly.

The carrier has increased the fee for changing a flight from $150 to $200. The $150 change fee has become industry standard and is charged by the majority of United's competitors. Southwest is the one notable exception, as it does not charge a fee to change flights.

"We carefully manage our seat inventory and incur costs when a traveler elects not to fly in a reserved seat," United spokeswoman Jennifer Dohm told ABC News. "We adjusted this fee to better compensate us for those costs."

Leisure travelers that are most likely to have to pay the increased fee. Leisure travelers are, for the most part, traveling on the economy-class, least-expensive, non-refundable tickets that are subject to change fees. Refundable, flexible tickets, as well as business and first-class tickets, are most often sold to business travelers at a higher price. With that higher price comes the luxury of changing plans -- without incurring any extra fees.

The increase, which took effect April 19, has not yet been matched by other carriers. If history is any indicator, United's competitors will wait and watch for any significant backlash from the traveling public. If there is none, they may too then decide to increase their fee.

Change fees are in addition to the charge for the difference in fare. So, if a traveler were to purchase a ticket for $300 and then want to change the dates of travel, and the price had then increased to $350, the airline would charge the fare difference of $50 plus the change fee. On United, this example would run the customer an additional $250 total.

Like we said, best to be sure about your plans before booking an airline ticket.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Airline Fees: Charges for Carry-Ons, Pillows, Water, Once Included, Now New Revenue

ICHIRO/Digital Vision(NEW YORK) -- The doors to a Boeing 777 used to be the gateway to adventure.  Now, when you get on a plane, it's more like the moment of truth -- for your wallet.

Airlines are adding on fees for almost everything, including amenities that were once complimentary.  So just how much is that flight you thought you paid for already really going to cost you?  By the end of your trip, you could spend hundreds more than you expected to.

Delta and other airlines are now charging around $6 to watch an in-flight movie.  Spirit Airways charges $3 for a bottle of water.  Allegiant Air charges between $4.99 and $24.99 for passengers to choose their own seat and between $17 and $25 for a pillow and a blanket.  And just last month, Allegiant announced it will start charging between $10 and $30 for passengers to have the privilege of storing carry-on bags in the overhead compartments.

But that cost is not quite as high as Spirit's carry-on price of $20 to $40.  The carrier has been charging for carry-on bags since 2010.  So which airline is going to be next?

"We're probably a few years away from other airlines following what Allegiant has done, but honestly, we're probably not that far off," said Sean Williams of Motley Fool, a financial services company.  "I think a lot of the airlines aren't going to have much of a choice to do this.  Many of them are losing money hand-over-fist if these fees aren't there."

A key reason people started to switch to carry-on was to avoid baggage charges that have also crept up in price in recent years.  On United, passengers will pay $100 for a third checked bag on an overseas flight, while Delta is charging $135 and American Airlines is charging $150.

Lately there is even the "book your seat" fee, an extra per seat charge at the time of booking on some section of some airlines to avoid the middle seat, or just to make sure you and your spouse are sitting next to each other.

In total, the airline industry brought in $2.6 billion in revenue during the first three-quarters of 2011 through these add-on fees.  Williams said Delta has brought in $656 million in just baggage fee revenue alone.

"They also are the leading airline when it comes to change-ticket fees," he said.

This seems bad for business, so why do the airlines do it?

"[The airlines] have no choice but to put out all these extra fees because they'd be losing money otherwise," Williams said.  "Between the added cost of planes, which just continue to be more expensive... they really have no choice."

One of the greatest costs to the airlines is the price of fuel.  Delta has considered buying their own refinery so that the airline can make its own fuel.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


A Carry-On Will Cost as Much as $100 On Spirit

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Spirit Airlines is at it again. Almost two years after becoming the first United States carrier to charge for carry-on bags, the airline is more than doubling that fee for certain passengers.

Starting Nov. 6, passengers who wait until they arrive at the gate to pay for their carry-on will pay $100 each way, the airline said. The current price is $45.

The new fee applies to both domestic and international flights.

Passengers who plan ahead can save significantly. A carry-on bag that’s paid for at booking will cost $35 (up from $30) and a carry-on paid for during online check in will cost $40 (up from $35).

There are fluctuations in some of the airline’s other fees, as well.

A carry-on is defined as any bag that needs to go in the overhead bin. Small items that can fit under the seat in front of you are free of charge.

The fee increase is sure to cause controversy, but Spirit’s no stranger to that.  In April 2012, the airline had to pull an ad for flights to Colombia that spoofed the Secret Service prostitution scandal called, “More Bang for Your Buck.”

Being the carrier known for fees is paying off for Spirit. In the first quarter of 2012 financial results reported Tuesday, the airline announced its total operating revenue was $301.5 million, an increase of $68.8 million, or 29.6 percent, compared to first quarter of 2011.

Spirit is one of two domestic carriers that charge for carry-on bags. The other is Allegiant Air, which instituted a fee last month. On that carrier, a carry-on costs as much as $35.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Airlines Collected Nearly $1.4 Billion From Fees

Medioimages/Photodisc/Comstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Department of Trasportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS)  has released the 1Q 2011 Airline Financial Data, reporting that airlines collected a total of $1.4 billion dollars from baggage and reservation change fees in the first quarter of 2011.

This only includes fees paid by passengers that BTS can identify separately, excluding all other fees paid by passengers. These other fees are included in larger categories with other types of revenue.

In July, the department proposed a rule that would require airlines to disclose additional fees, but that proposal is still under review.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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