Posted June 22, 2008 by Zak Patten
With new airline fees appearing daily for everything from checked bags to antlers, it can be hard to keep track of who's charging whom what for which. If you think the previous sentence was confusing, try figuring out what you'll pay to check a bag of golf clubs for your next flight to Myrtle Beach. Luckily, our friends over at Airfarewatchdog.com (and we do mean "friends"; see below) have put up two great charts, one detailing checked-bag charges and the other covering those extra airline fees you'll get hit with for changing a ticket, booking by phone, and taking Fido or Fluffy aboard.
Airfarewatchdog has all of the major U.S. carriers on its checked-bag chart, so you can find out how much that first suitcase will cost you on Delta (nothing) or what you'll be charged by JetBlue if you're traveling home after the holidays with 75 pounds of your mother's Christmas fruitcake in your checked baggage (an extra $100). There are categories for first, second, additional, and overweight and oversized bags, so you should be all set, unless you like to fly with 11 or more bags. But let's face it, if you're trying to get through Chicago O'Hare with a dozen pieces of luggage, you need much more help than any chart can offer.
The other chart features the same airlines, but lays out the charges for different activities (change fees, phone bookings, unaccompanied minors, taking a pet in the cabin, and selecting seats in advance or in premium-economy service). As Airfarewatchdog notes, Southwest has the lowest and fewest fees—you won't pay a cent to change a ticket if you travel within a year, or if you send your kid to Grandma's house for the summer. Presumably you'll purchase a return ticket for junior, though Southwest is known for its cheap one-ways. At the higher end of the scale are some of the legacy lines, three of which (American, Continental, and US Airways) take $150 for domestic ticket changes. Delta and United each charge 25 bucks for booking by phone, and United wants $30 for in-person reservations. Dog and cat lovers are advised to consider AirTran, which offers the lowest fees ($69) per pet.
With outrageous oil prices, these aren't easy times to be in the airline business, and consequently, it's a bit of a bumpy ride for passengers as well. There's no solace in paying more, but at least these charts keep us informed about how much we'll need to fork over.
(Editor's Note: BookingBuddy.com is published by Smarter Travel Media LLC, a member of the TripAdvisor Media Network, which also owns Airfarewatchdog.com.)
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