airline fees: comparisons
It's more than annoying, to say the least, to be assessed extra fees for checking bags, making flight reservations by phone, choosing a seat in advance and checking bags at curbside. Given the price of flights, more often than not, I feel I've been gouged.
But not all airlines are created equal.
Southwest Airlines actually is using its many freebies as an advertising ploy. It's even done the comparisons for us and put together a chart listing its own and its compeititors' fees. Get it at www.southwest.com
Southwest doesn't charge for bags, (unless you check three and then it's $25), lets unaccompanied minors fly without an extra charge, has free curbside check-in and no fee for changing a ticket.
I was especially annoyed at being charged $2 for water aboard a recent USAirways flight. But if I'd wanted a beer it would have been $7. Coffee, at $1, was the best deal since refills were free.
Continental is one of my favorite airlines, largely because they fly from Cleveland to almost everywhere I want to go. But they don't charge for curbside check-in, seat selection, beverages and snacks or meals on flights longer than two hours.
Last summer, when I flew Air Canada from Toronto to Calgary, I experienced a type of service that U.S. airlines might want to adopt. The meal service was built into the ticket price, at several different levels.
I also think the charter operator USA3000 is worth emulating. There's no charge for a checked bag, on-board movies and snacks are free. And there's a choice of color coded lunch packs available for $7. The one I chose included salami and cheese with crackers and was so generous in its servings, that I saved the dried apricots and nuts to give my husband when he picked me up at the airport.