Checked bag fees – they weren’t the first fees, but they were the most publicized. One by one, each of the major carriers began charging $25 to check a second piece of luggage, and the traveling public wondered just how far these fees would go. When American Airlines announced a $15 first-checked-bag fee and United Airlines and US Airways followed, most thought fees had reached the limit. But when US Airways announced on August 1, they would begin charging $2 for non-alcoholic beverages, air travelers started to sense this wasn’t the end of the fees, but just the beginning.
So pack light and avoid the checked-bag-charge and bring your own post-security-purchased beverage on board the plane, but it’s time to come to terms with the fact that a la carte pricing is the new reality. Whatever your thoughts on this flurry of fees – necessity due to the soaring price of jet fuel or sneaky nickel-and-diming – consider that for some travelers some of the time, some of these new fees may actually be worth paying, if just for a bit more comfort when we take to the skies.
It’s not always possible to snag the exit-row seat or the bulkhead. For passengers of a certain height, a few more inches of legroom makes a flight much more pleasant. JetBlue offers the option to purchase seats with 38 inches of legroom – up from the typical 34 – for $10 – $30, depending on the flight distance.
United Airline’s “Economy Plus” lets passengers pay up for more legroom – $14 on short-haul flights and more for longer routes. AirTran charges a $20 each-way fee for reserving an exit-row seat with more legroom.