Airline charges fee to reduce other fees

A list of some of the more outrageous costs airlines try to extract from customers.

By Kim Peterson Aug 5, 2010 3:32PM

Airline meal © Blend Images/SuperStockThis is so preposterous it's kinda funny. Airline fees are so out of control that one airline is now offering to reduce them -- for a fee.

The "boarding and flexibility package" by American Airlines (AMR) promises not to charge you to get on standby. And it will take $75 off the regular $150 fee if you need to change your flight. All for an additional fee of $9 to $19, The New York Times reported.

Got that straight? The fee frenzy doesn't stop there. Susan Stellin of the Times lists some of the most outrageous airline gouges:

Ticket change fees. We're all getting used to these by now. But Stellin raises a good point. Airlines can charge as much as $150 to change your ticket, but they are free to cancel or change flights themselves. How is that fair? Post continues after video:

Standby travel fees. An airline would rather let a seat go empty if it can't find a standby passenger who will pay the fee. That makes no sense, and contributes to inefficiency at the airline, Stellin writes. "By filling empty seats with passengers who are ready and waiting, carriers can open up seats on later flights -- potentially accommodating other travelers."

Phone reservation fees. If Web sites never had any problems and showed you every option available, that would be one thing, Stellin writes. The problem is that sites are not always reliable or clear. But airlines still charge as much as $35 to book a flight for you on the phone.

Peak travel fees. Instead of tacking on a "peak travel" fee three or four days a year (like the day before Thanksgiving, for example), airlines have been adding this charge for most days this summer. This is a hidden fee; it's just added to the fare and not broken out when you buy a ticket.

Tags: AMR
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