It used to be that when you purchased an airline ticket, the price you paid covered the cost of the transportation for you and your baggage, a meal and beverages during the flight, and other amenities that the airlines used to woo customer loyalty.
These days, extra fees are tacked onto your ticket price. Service charges, cancellation or change fees, airport improvement fees, security fees, and the list goes on (and on).
Now, some airlines have announced some additional charges:
From USA Today's Today in the Sky is news that starting in January American Eagle (American Airlines' regional carrier) will begin charging for beverages. Test marketing is on flights into and out of Los Angeles, and is based on a charge of $1 for a 12 ounce soda.
Also from Today in the Sky is the news that the British low cost carrier, FlyBE, will be charging for check baggage starting in February 2006. Not only will they be charging fees for checked baggage (ranging from approximately $3.50 to $7.00/bag), but they will also be giving a discount to those passengers who only bring carry on bags.
Finally, from Inflight HQ comes the news that Alaska Airlines will begin charging a $10 service fee on tickets purchased at a ticket counter or via their 800 number. Alaska is apparently the last carrier to jump on the bandwagon of charging more to talk to a human being.
These fees are being touted as "new," although I maintain that passengers have always paid for them.
Originally they were paid for as part of the all-inclusive ticket price. Now that travelers are demanding the very lowest price ticket, airlines have decided that the can't afford to include all these "niceties" for free.
It's a Hobson's choice: Pay more for all-inclusive, or portion it out to pay for what you use.