Navigate / search

The Airline Fees Worth Paying

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.

More legroom
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.

An Embarrassing Omission

Two years ago I suffered a bit of an identity crisis. I’ve always thought of myself as, first of foremost, a traveler, and I had a decent collection of stamps in two passports to prove it. But I realized there was one place I’d never really seen, despite having spent a lot of time there: America. All those stamps suddenly looked completely inadequate and sort of misguided.

Somewhere between my adolescent rush to Europe, my collegiate youth-hostel tours, and my post-college steps further abroad, I’d neglected to see much of my own country. I’d oohed and aahed at the Alps without ever having seen the Rockies, and omissions like that one had left me ignorant about the world’s most beautiful places closest to home.

Photo courtesy of IgoUgo Member Philly_Girl