Airline ancillary fees

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This topic contains 15 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  SimonS1 15 Aug 2014
at 11:43

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  • Anonymous


    Business Traveller is researching for a feature on airline ancillary fees, and it would be great to hear some of your experiences and opinions on the subject.

    Do you feel that airline ancillary fees are justified? Or, in which circumstances do you feel they are more justified than others?

    How have ancillary fees affected your business travel over the past years?

    How do you feel about major European carriers beginning to charge fees for baggage, for example, in a similar way to low-cost carriers?

    Do you feel that the fees are transparent enough?

    Any thoughts you’d like to share on the matter would be greatly appreciated, thank you


    Biggest gripe about “fees and charges” are the fuel surcharges levied by BA when making l/haul award bookings. I usually only book in C, but the fuel surcharge can sometimes equate to more than the cost of buying a discount economy ticket. Surely the cost of fuel should all be included in the ticket value, any surcharge should be limited to crude fluctuations of a set percentage to make things more transparent.

    Baggage fees on Euro flights will imo cause more problems with pax carrying too much baggage into the cabin, increasing boarding times as people ‘fight’ over bin space. Maybe the EZ scheme to only guarantee cabin space for smaller carry on bags will be the way to go? Ground handlers need to be stricter with existing carry on guides as well to reduce the numbers of pax who try to carry on too much baggage, FR seem to be the only airline that encourages their ground handlers to do this, maybe they pay them a percentage of the excess charges?


    In my opinion there are two starting points with ancillary charges…….

    The LCC model (i.e. Ryanair) model were you start at point zero and then you add to your basket cost as you require the service……I’m ok with this as I’m in control of what I purchase……

    Then we get legacy carriers starting to try and either copy or create a strange hybrid of this model that actually dilutes totally their full service marketing message….i’m not ok with this as the offering becomes confusing, the purchase of the ticket becomes even more confusing … and ultimately the sense of being ripped off becomes increasingly more likely with BA than it does with Ryanair !!


    Major airlines should not charge for baggage, nor should they charge for food and drink (IB).

    The only budget airline I have flown with is Air Berlin: and they supplied free refreshments.

    Taxes, etc are just a way of life, but it is frustrating when the price initially displayed on a web site is not the total payable.


    I can accept the “charges” which are optional i.e. baggage, seating etc What is not acceptable is not including non negotiable charges in the ticket price i.e. Aer Lingus €7/£7 per person, per flight!!!


    I don’t like airlines charging for exit seats. You can argue that it gives people who would not normaly fly Club a chance for extra legroom but often they cannot, or will not, afford the extra cash

    So many times I have been caught out by no headphones: annoying but can live with this for few hours as the entertainment is not always great, and there is always the inflight magazine to read!


    I guess a novel marketing stratergy by a new airline will be an all inclusive fare – no add ons!!

    Are there any airlines that dont charge fuel surcharge or are they all at it??


    BA takes the biscuit with their fuel levy – complaints are even going through the US court system.

    As Binman is taking a break,he probably would point out that no other carrier applies such an explicit large charge for an essential component of flying. Unlike most other add on charges it is not optional.


    I don’t fly them, for many reasons, but also this one: Ryanair charge you to check-in. There is no “no price” check-in option – you either pay to check-in online or pay more to check-in at the airport. Goodness only knows how they get away with it. Or is there an option to fly and not check-in?

    But yes, BA’s fuel surcharge: acceptable when fuel spiked. But years have passed and fuel costs have rebalanced to a new ‘norm’. Time for them to get a move on and get rid of it.


    …“Consumers begrudge companies that charge for services that had long been part of the base price.”…

    Interesting recent research – the bean counters need to be aware of, though doubt if they would understand it.

    …”when consumers pay more than they intended and blame the manufacturer, seller, or service provider for “hidden fees,” their affection for the brand plummets.”…..

    (Research – billed)
    …”This paper develops a framework of fee acceptability, negative emotions, and dysfunctional customer behavior, which is tested using data from the airline industry. Findings identify the strongest effects on betrayal in the case of baggage fees, followed by charges for comfort. Also, betrayal has a direct effect on complaining, whereas anger mediates the relationship between betrayal and negative word of mouth.”…


    Nice to see the boffins agree with me BigDog. Particularly about Premium “Y” and now BA contemplating charging for slightly better catering in “ Y “….


    If I fly on BA metal to Spain in econ I get some sort of snack/drink as a part of the fare. If however I have a BA flight number but am on Ibeiria metal (or veuling) I have to pay for these items. Where code shares exist, and they are becoming more and more common the basic ingredients of the package should be similar.

    While on the subject of codeshare, and sorry but off topic, as they become more common finding ones flight on departure boards is becoming a mind blowing nightmare. Some flights have 3,4,5 lines for each of the code share airlines. They should all go one line with the respective code share partners next to each other. I know, the screens aren’t wide enough. Drives me nuts.



    +1 re Exit seat charges. This is illegal in my opinion as it discriminates against disabled passengers who are not allowed to sit in these seats. If they want to charge for extra leg room seats they should also have other rows with extra leg room that disabled passengers can use. In other words they should have a business class or premium economy offering. One day, I might get a lawyer to make a claim under the DDA about this.

    Fuel surcharges and similar are not ancillary fees in my opinion as you can’t avoid paying them. So they should be included in the base fare regardless.

    Other than that, I don’t have a big issue with ancillary fees where I can choose to avoid them. Some fees clearly take the mick but that just tells me more about the kind of company that is seeking my money. Where I do have an issue with them is when they lead to unintended consequences that cause problems. The bag fees lead to overcrowding of the overhead bins for example. I would be curious to know where the cost is in baggage handling. Is it the trek from checkin to the aircraft or is it the loading on the aircraft? If it is the former, then I don’t have a problem being able to take my suitcase all the way to the aircraft and then they load it into the hold (happens a lot with hand baggage on smaller aircraft) rather than paying the airline to do this.


    I sometimes find it frustrating that lo cost airline final prices are way over what is initially advertised, but at least as you go through the process it is quite transparent.

    I really have an issue with charges that I feel should be included as part of the ticket and vary from airline to airline (surcharges etc). I cannot understand how these do not have to be included in the advertised price

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