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Airline fees: Are the little extras worth it?

By Paul Nelson | Posted - Nov 14th, 2012 @ 9:40am



SALT LAKE CITY -- A lot of Utahns are getting their travel plans ready for this holiday season. Some airlines appear to be finding ways to charge passengers with as many fees as they can. But, are there any little extras that may be worth shelling out a little extra money for?

A growing number of airlines are offering "premium seats" in coach. They give passengers a little more leg room and the seats recline further.

Christopherson Travel advisor Robert Potts said, "It used to be just for international [flights], but now it's getting to be fleet wide where they have these seats."

Potts says the rest of the fees airlines tack on are really just ways to nickel and dime the customer.

"They've gone from a customer service business to a ‘what can we do to make more money' business," he said. "Maybe that's what they needed to survive. But the customer service just isn't there, domestically, like it used to be."


"They've gone from a customer service business to a 'what can we do to make more money' business."

There's the meal fee, the unaccompanied minor fee, and even the seat assignment fee. Plus, there are the baggage fees. Potts says these can be so expensive, traveling with Christmas presents can be out of the question for some fliers.

"You're paying, most of the time, $25 for the first bag and the more bags you check, the more the fee is," he said.

He recommends people ship their presents to their destination, instead.

Also, remember when airlines would forward your luggage on to your connecting flight, at no charge, even if it was with a different airline? Well, Potts says major changes could be coming to that, also.

Let's use a hypothetical scenario as an example. A flier wants to go from Salt Lake City to South Korea. That person finds a cheap flight from Salt Lake City to L.A. on one airline, then a low rate on a flight from L.A. to Seoul on another. They could go through one major carrier to make all the arrangements, but that would cost a lot more money than if the customer books the flights themselves.

If you let Delta book your flights, Potts says the airline will forward your luggage. But, if you booked them yourself, Potts says you and your bags are on your own.

"Delta's policy is going to start Jan. 15. I really haven't seen any other airlines come out and say they're going to do that, but that's usually the case. When one airline does it, the rest of them jump on board and start doing the same thing," he said.

In the future, customers will have to get their own luggage out of the baggage claims and check them in themselves before getting on their connecting flight.

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