Consumers are balancing the higher price of tickets by packing lighter. To avoid charges, passengers are seeking out alternatives. Many are trying to fit more clothes into a single bag. Shipping the luggage ahead of time has also become a cheaper option.
In 2009 year the nation’s airlines earned nearly $8 billion from extra blankets, pillows, bags, and early check-in. Major airlines like American Airlines only allowed one carryon bag per passenger, charged $10 for the second bag and $50 for each additional bag. Although, airlines are expecting larger profit margins from the fees, many passengers are finding ways around the extra fees.
According to airline industry officials the fees are needed to offset losses. The fees have helped the industry to start turning a profit by reducing its tax liability. The revenue from the fees provides the airlines with the means to continue quality service. Airlines insist passengers benefit from the fees because they get what they pay for. Because the fees are still in its early stages, airlines are trying to minimize consumer outrage with package deals.
Not every airline has succumbed to the need to generate extra revenue through fees. Southwest Airlines does not charge a fee for the first or second checked bag. However, it does charge for a third bag and oversized bags. In addition, there is no charge to change a reservation or fuel surcharges.
Last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation gave a series of proposals aimed at protecting airline passengers from excessive fees. The proposals list requirements for all mandatory taxes, fees and charges included in advertised ticket prices. Additionally, the proposals request that optional fees must be available on airline websites.
Although frustrated passengers are traveling lighter, the fees have helped the industry to start turning a profit.