Skip to main content

Are you a legal professional? Visit our professional site

Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Not On Board With Sky-High Airline Fees? Here's What You Can Do

By Brett Snider, Esq. on June 19, 2014 12:31 PM

We live in a wondrous age where you can rise to perilous heights at fantastic speeds, transporting yourself thousands of miles in mere hours for less than a week's wages.

Though we rarely stop to revel in this luxury, there are plenty of things about air travel that bring us back to earth. A recent survey finds that 84 percent of Americans are fed up with being "nickel and dimed" by airline fees. Airlines are increasingly charging for perks like checked bags and seat choice -- features that used to be free.

So as a level-headed air traveler, what can you do to soar above? Here are a few legal tips:


Read Your Airline's Booking Site Carefully

Since 2012, the Department of Transportation has required air carriers to advertise the full price of a ticket, including taxes, on their websites and on ticket confirmations. However, there is far less regulation when it comes to what airlines can charge with regard to "optional" or ancillary services.

For example, you may assume that because legacy airlines like Delta and American have allowed passengers to carry on one bag and a small personal item at no extra charge, that it's standard policy across airlines. Wrong-o.

"Bare fare" airlines like Spirit and Frontier have made their marks on the market by offering bare-bones ticket prices, but you'll likely be charged for carrying more than a backpack or purse on board.

Keep an Eye on Federal Regulations's survey found that 53 percent of Americans would rather pay more for their tickets than have to deal with hidden or extra fees. On the other hand, 48 percent said they'd prefer to stick with (supposedly) rock-bottom prices as long as they knew what they were paying for.

Both camps seem to be saying the same thing, though in a slightly different way: Let me know the actual price and I will pay it.

This demand for transparency has been felt in Washington, in the form of federal regulations. The Department of Transportation has proposed new rules that would require more disclosure for extra airline fees, but they won't be finalized until late August. You can view these proposed rules and comment on them by visiting the DOT's website before midnight on August 21, 2014.

Don't let skyrocketing airline fees drag you down. Know your legal rights as an air traveler and rise above!

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:
Copied to clipboard

Find a Lawyer

More Options