Analyst: More Airline Fees In 2011

I just got back from a trip last week.  I like to fly Southwest when I can, especially if the whole family goes.  We pack a lot of stuff for ski trips. Unlike most airlines, Southwest doesn’t charge for checked bags, and that saved me (for a family of 5) as much as $600 in fees, depending on the airline (check out this chart for baggage fees).

15 bags and NO extra fees!

Airline fees are a killer for passengers, and the experts say we can expect even more in 2011. Airline analyst Rick Seaney, founder of FareCompare.com,  told ABC News to brace for these new fees in the coming year:

  • No more free flights for infants.
  • No more free drinks, even Diet Cokes or orange juice.
  • And no more heavy carry-on bags.  If it’s over 25 pounds, pull out your wallet.

Some predict it’s also only a matter of time before speaking to a human being at the airport will cost money.  “They are trying to minimize the number of humans between you and taking your flight,” according to Seaney.

Last summer alone, ABC News says airlines made more than half their revenue… $2.1 billion out of $3.8 billion… just on airfare fees.  That number doesn’t include charging us for meals, headphones and blankets.

So where’s the line?  Seaney says the one thing they won’t charge for is using the bathroom, as at least one carrier in Europe does. Can you imagine if they did that?  As I joked in an earlier post, “Anyone gotta quarter I can borrow? Anyone? Hurry. Please!”

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