Friday, March 11, 2011

To Fee or Not to FEE! To Fly or Not to Fly...

Airlines took in some $22 billion in add-on fees (checked baggage, meals, ticket changes, etc.) last year. Naturally, they are considering other services where fees might apply. A few are actually being considered.

Reservations: online, $5; talk to real person on phone, $10; bad weather cancellation insurance, $15; tarmac delay exit via chute fee, $25; guaranteed reservation, $15; order a champagne meal, $25.

Seat choice: wider (four inches) seat zone, $50; aisle, $15; window, $20; reclining seat, $20 (activated by cabin attendant); quiet zone (no talking allowed) fee, $25; front of the plane coach seating, $15; seat next to your children fee, $5 per child.
Airport check-in: automated, $5; talk to real agent, $10; concourse moving walkway or escalator pass, $10; individual motorized wheelchair available to anyone, $15 (standard wheelchair use remains free); carry-on baggage bin fee, $10 (items fitting under the seat in front of you are free); body mass index (BMI) fee, rising scale $10-$50 (all passengers required to show official current BMI measurement card); purchase bag of coin tokens for on-board use (see below), $10.

Security: go to head of the line fee, $25; full body pat down by TSA person of choice (from daily roster photos posted at metal detector), $20; watch full body scans of other passengers fee, $100.

Boarding: Get on the plane first (limited to 100 passengers) fee, $30.
On board: bag of tokens for coin operated TV, bathroom access including extra toilet paper, vomit bag release, and high or slow speed wi-fi access, $10; use of on-board library (no carry-on reading materials allowed) fee, $10; cabin attendant attention (get served first with a smile) card fee, $15; change of seat (if available) option, $15; drop down oxygen (ensures breathing apparatus works) fee, $50; safe landing fee (basically for the pilots, like the tip jar at Starbucks,) suggested $50.

Destination arrival: get off the plane first (seat belt lock release activated by cabin attendant) fee, $15; luggage carousel fee, $10; first off luggage fee, $10.

With all the new fees, the actual airfare may become a minor consideration; to fee or not to fee, or to fly or not to fly.