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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   3 min read reports that new airline fees are on their way this year from the industry’s largest airline companies, including the low cost ones. What services will they target now? After hearing of charging £1 per flush on Ryanair, anything is possible.

When it comes to low cost airlines, you can expect to pay extra for the fluff and frills that regular airlines include in their ticket price. The more services a la carte, the more expensive the ticket. As the low cost airline model becomes more popular, we can already see scheduled airlines starting to adopt the same methodology. That is, same routes but less perks. Here are 5 ideas that we could see to into action as early as 2011.

1. You wanna talk? You gotta pay

Is it possible to completely eliminate clerks at check-in? That’s not entirely permitted… but making passengers pay to talk to someone is! There’s two sides of this coin. First, it allows the airline to employ fewer staff at check-in counters (putting extra pressure on those few still holding onto their positions) and the airline can reap profits by changing the physical check-in clerk to a chargeable service. It’s simple: if you do not use the computerized check-in machine, you pay a flat fee to check-in with one of the airline staff. Not a great thing for passengers with disabilities or who need special assistance.

2. Babies won’t ride for free

Poor little tots… up until now they’ve practically been granted a free ride on the laps oftheir ma’s and pa’s. This will end soon enough now that many airlines are considering a flat fee for each infant per flight, whether they sit on the parent’s laps or not. Time to cash in the baby bonds… it’s quite probably this is coming soon, just like the hike in children air fares.

3. Luggage fees -even on international flights

A lot of companies have started to charge for check-in luggage on domestic flights. It takes around 400 litres of petrol to transport a single passenger on a round trip flight from London to New York City. With cost per litre at about 130p (you can do the math…), scheduled airlines are giving serious thought about charging for luggage. Soon enough it’ll be mandatory to be a pro at packing carry-on because it’ll be all we’ve got.

4. Fees for carry-on luggage

Luggage space on airplanes is extremely precious since the majority of passenger travel with suitcases in hand. When boarding a low cost flight it sure gets difficult to cram all those little duffles in the overhead compartments (since no one checks luggage). We could see airlines beginning to charge for using that small space or at least pushing passengers to choose priority boarding (starting at €10.50 with easyJet), ensuring passengers’ luggage fits.

5. Loyalty rewards programs, the end of “free”

Loyalty programmes such as Flying Blue are becoming increasingly more expensive for airlines to maintain now that even casual flyers are becoming gurus at how they work and when to cash in their bonuses and points. (See our article: Flying with your Miles… 10 tips to get the most out of your rewards program). Alliances are considering a subscription fee for these cards and booking bonuses to their truly loyal passengers (business travellers for example).

What do you think of these new fees? Are they fair? Between fees and increased security measures at airports, is air travel becoming another obstacle to overcome before travelling?

Imgs: Flickr cc /DeclanTM – Jyri

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