Additional charges over and above the basic flight price with budget airlines are nothing new and we're aware they can more than double the final ticket cost. Ryanair infamously caused an uproar when it tried to introduce a ‘toilet toll’ by fitting its planes with coin operated lavatories. Fortunately the idea that passengers would have to spend a pound to spend a penny was scotched, but what future outrageous charges could be in store? We’ve taken a look at what’s happening across the pond, as reported by MSN, to give you an idea.
Low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines have started charging up to $45 for each piece of hand-luggage that won’t stow under a seat, putting a barefaced positive spin on this new charge by offering a $15 saving if you purchase it online. Or how about Continental Airlines ‘farelock’ whereby you pay between $5 and $19 to reserve a seat for a week while you keep searching for a cheaper deal? According to the company, this gives customers ‘more choices and more control over their travel experience’. The company has also raised the cost of roomier emergency exit-row seats, whilst US Airways charge between $5 and $30 extra for a window seat. Meanwhile, American Airlines have rebranded the first few rows in economy as ‘express seats’, charging passengers between $19 and $39 extra for the ‘convenience of being among the first coach passengers on and off the plane’ and if you’ve acquired a few extra pounds over Christmas, watch out. United Airlines has a ‘fat fee’ and Southwest Airlines removed film director Kevin Smith from one of its flights for being too heavy.
So as airlines come up with new ways to get your cash, watch your weight and enjoy your window seat view and roomy emergency exit seat while you can. In future you may have to pay for the privilege.