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Airline Fees Increase (Again!)

Travelers Today       By    Carly Okyle

Updated: Jun 19, 2012 03:51 PM EDT

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In yet another example of incredibly frustrating airline fees, airlines are now charging more for window and aisle seats. Unsurprisingly, people complained, but that hasn’t stopped the extra charges. In fact, American Airlines, Delta, US Airways, Frontier, and Spirit now charge for preferred seating.

This idea has gained ground in the United Kingdom as well, with both Easyjet and Ryanair reserving specific seat locations.

The creator of AirfareWatchdog.com, George Hobica, said he had been contacted by a number of people, including a woman whose husband had a medical condition, who had trouble sitting together on flights because airlines charge more for window and aisle seats, leaving those who can’t or don’t want to pay with the middle seat in the row, separated from their trip companions.

"The airlines are basically trying to squeeze out more fees in the face of higher costs, and it is inconveniencing a lot of passengers," Hobica said.

Not only that, but the extra charges differ based on which half of the plane the seat is in. Seats in the front half of the plane could cost an additional $29 for domestic flights and $59 for international trips.

Delta spokeswoman Katie Hulme told CNN the higher prices were based on the fact that some seats were more desirable than others. She also said it gave passengers greater choice and flexibility in where they were seated. But for those passengers who do not have the extra funds to pay for the seat they want, options are limited.

As one Australian website explains, “The implementation of end-of-row seat fees is part of a broader airline trend to charge for things previously included in the standard fare, such as movies, water, pillows and blankets in response to soaring fuel prices.”

And the increases continue.

Spirit airlines has announced that they plan to charge for carry-on luggage. According to an article from USA Today, “beginning Nov. 6 it will charge $100 for fliers who pay for a carry-on bag at the boarding gate. That's a big jump from the $45 the airline is charging now at airport gates and means it could cost $200 round-trip to carry a bag on board.”

Kate Hanni of FlyersRights.org believes that the airlines are doing themselves a disservice. "Not only is the flying public blind to all ancillary fees, but to increase them by huge numbers while the flying public is already smarting from a bad economy and higher fuel prices is just bad business," she said.

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