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Dealing with airline fees

Given that most United States carriers charge for in-flight meals
and to check a second (or even first) bag, ancillary fees aren’t a new
concept for economy travelers. In fact, there are even more fees to
consider, like an additional charge for checking bags at the airport
(instead of prepaying online) and a fee for reserving an aisle seat;
the five so-called legacy carriers have also introduced a $20 surcharge
on flights during busy holiday-travel days. U.S. carriers collected a
full $2.4 billion in fees in the first half of 2009 alone. United has
even introduced a program that allows travelers to pay $249 annually to
cover the cost of checking up to two bags on each flight—a move experts
anticipate other airlines will follow.

T+L Tip: One
silver lining: ancillary fees could actually drive down base fares,
according to Jay Sorensen, president of IdeaWorks, a Wisconsin-based
travel consultancy whose clients include several airlines. In the short
term, though, elite and premium-class fliers, who are exempt from most
fees, stand to benefit the most. So build up those miles.


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