Airline fees go up, up, and away


The airlines are easy to complain about. They are losing money at alarming rates, and the comfort of their customers is the least of their concerns. There is a fee for everything under the sun, and these days you're lucky if you get a clean airplane and a sip of water during your flight.

The Baltimore Sun did a great summary of all the fees and made a very valid point: There are likely to be more fees coming because it doesn't seem as though travelers have hit their breaking point yet. Leisure travelers are likely a little more irritated with the cost of flying, but business travelers who have little choice but to fly to their destinations still seem willing to pay for certain in-flight amenities.

Current additional charges include: second checked bag ($10 to $25), curbside baggage check fee ($2 to $3), booking seat assignments prior to check-in ($6), unaccompanied minors ($75 to $100), booking a flight over the phone ($15 and up), carry-on of small pets ($65 to $100), snack boxes ($3 to $8).

What fees are next? Likely charges for better seats. Some airlines are already charging $10 or $20 extra for seats in exit rows, and others are charging extra for seats toward the front of planes. Travelers may soon be paying extra for aisle or window seats. And who knows what they'll come up with next. I'm betting there will be fees for blankets or pillows very soon. And bathroom fees. Those are coming too.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.