Airline fees anger fliers, group says

Aug. 12, 2008 at 12:30 PM
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NEW YORK, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- The executive director of a U.S. airline passenger group said new fees for a slew of airline services are provoking negative reactions.

"Confusion and anger is everywhere," Kate Hanni of the Coalition for an Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights told USA Today Tuesday.

Frequent flier Jeff Kahne from San Antonio, Texas, said the new fees resembled an old scam technique. "I think this a la carte method of squeezing travelers is basically bait-and-switch," he said.

Airlines have added new fees for a variety of services, including checking an extra bag, asking for a seat with extra leg room and for booking flights over the phone, the newspaper reported.

Some feel airlines fees have gone too far. JetBlue is now charging $7 for a pillow and a blanket passengers can keep. Airlines frequently loan these for free.

The fees can add millions to revenue. US Airways has said it will reap as much as $500 million on new fees this year, including charging for non-alcoholic drinks.

Airlines blame fuel costs. Jet fuel is expected to cost airlines $61.2 billion this year, compared to $20 billion in 2007, David Castelveter, vice president of the Air Transport Association said.

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