Airline fees: Average True Ticket Price Up Nearly 30 Percent
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Baggage fees brought U.S. airlines in 2011 a total of $3.4 bill
The average true price of a one-way ticket has increased by nearly 30% since 2008, according to a study by Boyd Group International. The data also notes that a "low cost" carrier at an airport does little to lower overall fares.
average one-way fare, including federal fees and taxes, increased to
$219.50 in the fourth quarter of 2012, up 12.5% from 2008. However, the
real cost is up 29.1%, due to airlines charging for commonly-used and
consider your airfare as just the down-payment. The ancillary fees for
bag checking, early boarding, 'preferred' seating, etc., adds
approximately 15% on average to the base fare of a one-way trip.
Last week, Frontier Airlines became the latest airline to add new fees, saying that it will charge customers who did not book directly through its website for carry-on bags and drinks.
Some airlines gouge passengers before they even step foot on a plane.
Virgin America, for instance, will charge flyers $20 for a mailed copy of their itineraries. Spirit charges $10 for boarding passes printed by an airport agent.
"Clearly this is an attempt to raise air fares under the search engine radar," said Paul Hudson, President of FlyersRights.
"Such deceptively priced "low air fares" need to be published with
these extraordinary baggage and drink fees included, due to the fact
that the vast majority of passengers have either carry on or checked
baggage and need hydration. At the very least, Frontier and Spirit
Airlines no baggage fares should be published with an asterisk * next
"A bare & dry air fare
may not be the end," Hudson continued. "Other rumored airline fee
gimmicks include pay toilets, stand up seating, passenger weight
premiums and the still undercover all nude & fresh air specials!"
Seriously, FlyersRights may
have to request rulings by the DOT. The question is when do "extra"
fees reach the point that they intrude on core air travel services,
amount to unlawful "deceptive or unfair" marketing and pricing
practices or are even unsafe.
A lawsuit was filed Monday by The Association of Flight Attendants, FlyersRights, and seven other aviation associations to fight against TSA's plans to allow knives in the passenger cabins.
The coalition also includes flight attendants, gate agents, pilots, law enforcement and passengers.
The 9/11 Commission Report noted that the Al Qaeda hijackers used
knives to kill several flight attendants and the pilots on all four
hijacked flights, that were then used to kill nearly 3,000 by
destroying the World Trade Center and damaging the Pentagon. The FAA in
2001 did not prohibit knives with blades under four inches because a)
they did not consider them dangerous, b) some local laws permitted
carrying knives, and c) they were hard to detect so banning them could
slow down security screening,
Others have suggested that allowing
knives will raise the consistently poor performance test scores of
screeners and thereby make the TSA look better. The 9/11 hijackers were
also reported to have trained killing sheep with pocket knives and were
well aware of the lax FAA policies on permitting small knives.
Ernest Emerson, the maker
of tactical knives popular with military and law enforcement, is rumored
to be modifying his Hummingbird blade to be TSA-compliant. Emerson
advertises this knife as the one you'd want if you get the call, "Let's
The petition makes five critical points:
Permitting knives in the cabin is an unnecessary risk to the traveling
public and violates the Administrator's duty as set out by Congress. A
TSA-approved knife could be used to stab or kill a passenger, crew
member, federal air marshal or TSA Security Officer by a terrorist,
mentally ill person or drug or alcohol-impaired passenger. A
TSA-approved knife could be used to hijack a plane.
It would be irresponsible to relax the TSA's existing policy on knives
when virtually every organization representing those directly affected
by the change adamantly oppose it on safety and security grounds.
-- Federal regulations currently ban all weapons on airplanes and in airport secure areas, and a knife is a weapon.
TSA's argument for the change is false. TSA says the change would bring
the US in line with the international standard for knives. There is no
international standard for knives: Canada, Israel and Taiwan - to name a
few - ban knives on planes.
One of the nation's foremost experts on knives provides testimony
stating TSA training and procedures will not allow officers to detect
locking blades without direct examination. This means security lines
would slow and officers at airport checkpoints would be distracted from
searching for firearms and explosives.
The organizations signing the petition are:
The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (flight attendants at 20 airlines, including United and US Airways)
The American Federation of Government Employees (TSA Security Officers)
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (American Airlines flight attendants)
The Allied Pilots Association (American Airlines pilots)
The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (federal Air Marshals)
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (largest
aviation union, including flight attendants and gate agents)
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (thousands of aviation workers including flight attendants at Republic)
The Transport Workers Union (thousands of aviation workers including Southwest flight attendants)
The Petition was supported by expert testimony from:
Bonner - Assistant professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Served with the FBI including providing counterterrorism training to the
Iraqi police and military in Baghdad and Fallujah, Iraq. His long list
of security credentials includes Instructor at the FBI Academy in
Quantico, Va., certified as a Law Enforcement Officer by the State of
Florida, and participation in FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Levine - Recognized as one of the world's leading knife experts with
more than four decades of experience. His books include four editions of
the standard reference work in the field of knives and knife
identification, as well as Pocketknives, a Collector's Guide and Identifying Pocketknives. His business website is www.knife-expert.com.
Adler - President of the Federal Law Enforcement Officer Assoication, a
decorated officer, certified tactcal instructor, and an executive board
member of the DHS Federal Law Enforcement Advisory Board. He was also a
first responder at Ground Zero on 9/11.
Paul Hudson - Current President of FlyersRights.org, an aviation attorney and a member of the FAA Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee. Paul was also on the FAA/TSA Aviation Security Advisory Committees and the President of Families of Pan Am 103/Lockerbie as well as several other public policy committees and a published author on passenger aviation security.
- the must-have TSA-compliant toiletry kit for the
efficient traveler. Enter code: ISTILLFLY and you'll receive one dollar
off AND another dollar will be donated to FlyersRights! Visit FlyBags.com.
We are commited to solutions for promoting airline passenger policies that forward first and foremost the safety of all passengers while not imposing unrealistic economic burdens that adversely affect airline profitability or create exhorbitant ticket price increases.
All American air carriers shall abide by the following standards to ensure the safety, security and comfort of their passengers:
Establish procedures to respond to all passenger complaints within 24 hours and with appropriate resolution within 2 weeks.
Notify passengers within ten minutes of a delay of known diversions, delays and cancellations via airport overhead announcement, on aircraft announcement, and posting on airport television monitors.
Establish procedures for returning passengers to terminal gate when delays occur so that no plane sits on the tarmac for longer than three hours without connecting to a gate.
Provide for the essential needs of passengers during air- or ground-based delays of longer than 3 hours, including food, water, sanitary facilities, and access to medical attention.
Provide for the needs of disabled, elderly and special needs passengers by establishing procedures for assisting with the moving and retrieving of baggage, and the moving of passengers from one area of airport to another at all times by airline personnel.
Publish and update monthly on the company’s public web site a list of chronically delayed flights, meaning those flight delayed thirty minutes or more, at least forty percent of the time, during a single month.
Compensate “bumped” passengers or passengers delayed due to flight cancellations or postponements of over 12 hours by refund of 150% of ticket price.
The formal implementation of a Passenger Review Committee, made up of non-airline executives and employees but rather passengers and consumers – that would have the formal ability to review and investigate complaints.
Make lowest fare information, schedules and itineraries, cancellation policies and frequent flyer program requirements available in an easily accessed location and updated in real-time.
Ensure that baggage is handled without delay or injury; if baggage is lost or misplaced, the airline shall notify customer of baggage status within 12 hours and provide compensation equal to current market value of baggage and its contents.
Require that these rights apply equally to all airline code-share partners including international partners.