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Which US Airlines Still Offer Free Amenities (and What You’ll Get) Slideshow

Which US Airlines Still Offer Free Amenities (and What You’ll Get) Slideshow

Southwest

Southwest still lets its passengers have two free checked bags, complimentary peanuts, pretzels, and Nabisco snacks (on some flights), and complimentary soft drinks. Passengers who fly on holidays are treated to a drink on the house, like on Fathers Day (June 17th) and on Southwest's birthday, June 18.

JetBlue

JetBlue passengers get one free checked bag, free DirectTV, free Sirius XM radio, complimentary free snacks, complimentary soft drinks, and "snooze kits" (earplugs and eyeshades). JetBlue's free snack choices are the most diverse with options including PopCorners popcorn chips, Terra Blues potato chips, Linden's chocolate chip cookies, King Nut fancy nut mix, Stauffer's animal crackers, and Quaker multigrain fiber crisp.

Virgin America

The amenities depend on what type of ticket you purchase, but basic free television and soft drinks are included for all passengers. Those on an upgrade, main cabin select, or first class ticket get all amenities for free except Wi-Fi. Ordering pay-as-you go snacks and drinks is easy. Passengers can order food and drinks by touchscreen, and they can open a tab for a portion or the duration of a flight to avoid swiping their credit cards each time an order is placed.

United/Delta/American/U.S. Airways

Free soft drinks and complimentary snacks, which vary by carrier and route, from peanuts to pretzels to cookies.

Jeff Klee, CEO of CheapAir.com, Shares His Travel Tips

1. Check the airlines baggage fee policy and pay the bag fee when booking the ticket to save money. Some carriers, like Spirit, even charge for carry-on baggage.

2. Book an exit row seat, which has more legroom. Klee avoids the front row of any cabin.

3. Legroom varies by carrier. Spirit tends to have less legroom, while JetBlue has some seats with extra legroom (and JetBlue doesnt charge extra to sit in them), and other airlines are adding extra legroom to seats at the front of their cabins.

Jeff Klee, CEO of CheapAir.com, Shares His Travel Tips

4. Check-in 24 hours ahead and, if there are seats available in business or first class, you can buy an upgrade for a lot less than it would have cost booking it upfront.

5. Instead of stowing your carry-on underneath the seat in front of you, Klee advises you to use the space for your feet instead.


Airline Fees Test Travelers’ Limits

AFTER a United flight hit severe turbulence over Kansas on July 20, injuring dozens of people on board, Jay Leno joked that flight attendants administered first aid only to passengers who paid a $7.50 “triage fee.” It was a bit of morbid humor reflecting the view that airline fees are out of control.

Even the government is concerned about the fee frenzy, which generated nearly $8 billion for American carriers last year. The House Subcommittee on Aviation recently held a hearing to investigate whether airline fees should be more clearly disclosed to passengers, and the Department of Transportation is considering rules that would force carriers to do just that, in advertisements and during the ticketing process. But so far, the government has stayed away from the underlying issue that irritates many travelers: whether these fees are fundamentally fair.

While baggage fees have gotten the most attention, at least there are ways to avoid them (pack light, or fly Southwest or JetBlue, which allow one or more checked bags without charging). Spirit Airlines began charging for carry-on bags on Aug. 1, a controversial move, but unless that catches on, the fees below get my vote for most outrageous — because they are grossly out of proportion to the service rendered, are inadequately disclosed, or punish customers for the airlines’ operational flaws.

Ticket Change Fees

From January to March, United States airlines collected $769 million in baggage fees, but they also made an eye-popping $554 million from reservation change fees, which have risen as high as $150 for a domestic ticket on American, Continental, Delta, United and US Airways. Those airlines all charge up to $250 to change an international flight, and if you book your ticket through Orbitz or Travelocity, you have to pay the agency an additional $30 change fee (Expedia does not charge extra).

And these are just service fees you also have to pay any difference between your original fare and the new ticket price. The galling thing is that the airlines reserve the right to cancel or change flights themselves, without penalty. And the increase is out of proportion to what it costs an airline to rebook, now that everything is handled electronically: five years ago, fees were $20 to $100 for a domestic flight.

At least some airlines are not gouging their customers. Southwest does not charge passengers a fee to change a ticket and never will, said Brad Hawkins, a Southwest spokesman (though it does charge any fare difference). Airtran charges $75 for ticket changes, as do Alaska and Virgin America if you change your ticket online by phone, it’s $100.

In June, American introduced a “boarding and flexibility” package that gives you a $75 discount on flight changes, as well as early boarding and free standby, for $9 to $19, depending on the flight. Yes, you can now pay a fee to possibly reduce your fees, and that is not a late-night monologue joke.

Standby Travel Fees

When I recently flew from New York City to Detroit on Delta Airlines, I had a three-hour layover before my flight to Traverse City, Mich., so I tried to get on an earlier flight. But Delta no longer offers free standby travel instead, you can pay $50 for a confirmed seat on an earlier flight.

American, Continental, United and US Airways have all adopted a similar $50 “same-day confirmed” option, essentially eliminating free standby travel — unless you’re an elite frequent flier or paid a higher fare. AirTran, JetBlue and Virgin America still allow free standby travel, or you can pay a fee to switch to an earlier flight.

Here’s my problem with these fees: they’re completely one-sided in favor of the airlines. On the outbound leg of my trip, mechanical problems caused me to miss my connection and spend several extra hours in Detroit, but when Delta had the chance to get me to my destination early, I was asked to pay. Eliminating standby travel is also counter to an efficient flow of passengers: by filling empty seats with passengers who are ready and waiting, carriers can open up seats on later flights — potentially accommodating other travelers.

When I finally boarded my flight (which was delayed by rain), an elderly man ahead of me was turned away at the gate because his boarding pass was for a later flight. He seemed confused about why he couldn’t board, but the agent brushed him aside. There may not have been an empty seat to give him, but with storms bearing down, why not try to get an old man to his destination? Because there’s a fee for that.

Phone Reservation Fees

The fee to book a ticket by phone rather than doing it yourself online is now $15 to $35 on most airlines, except Southwest, which doesn’t charge.

If airline Web sites worked perfectly, and displayed every flight option, with clear disclosures about rules and fees, those fees might be justifiable. But Web sites have glitches, they don’t typically show every flight option, and online ticketing is only getting more confusing as carriers hawk hotel rooms, rental cars and travel insurance during the checkout process and make fee information difficult to find.

Many travelers did not grow up with a mouse in hand, and they should not be penalized for needing human help with an expensive, complicated ticket purchase.

Peak Travel Surcharges

Last fall, many airlines began imposing holiday surcharges for travel around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s — a practice that expanded to “peak travel” surcharges of $10 to $30 almost every day this summer.

Most travelers aren’t aware of these surcharges because they are not listed separately in price quotes, but FareCompare.com has compiled a helpful chart showing how much you’ll pay for peak travel through early 2011.

Rick Seaney, FareCompare’s chief executive, said this strategy allows airlines to raise fares on specific days, rather than across the board, which is a legitimate business practice, but why not tell customers?

“Having a bunch of unbundled fees and add-ons makes it more complicated for people to compare apples to apples,” Mr. Seaney said.


Airline Fees Test Travelers’ Limits

AFTER a United flight hit severe turbulence over Kansas on July 20, injuring dozens of people on board, Jay Leno joked that flight attendants administered first aid only to passengers who paid a $7.50 “triage fee.” It was a bit of morbid humor reflecting the view that airline fees are out of control.

Even the government is concerned about the fee frenzy, which generated nearly $8 billion for American carriers last year. The House Subcommittee on Aviation recently held a hearing to investigate whether airline fees should be more clearly disclosed to passengers, and the Department of Transportation is considering rules that would force carriers to do just that, in advertisements and during the ticketing process. But so far, the government has stayed away from the underlying issue that irritates many travelers: whether these fees are fundamentally fair.

While baggage fees have gotten the most attention, at least there are ways to avoid them (pack light, or fly Southwest or JetBlue, which allow one or more checked bags without charging). Spirit Airlines began charging for carry-on bags on Aug. 1, a controversial move, but unless that catches on, the fees below get my vote for most outrageous — because they are grossly out of proportion to the service rendered, are inadequately disclosed, or punish customers for the airlines’ operational flaws.

Ticket Change Fees

From January to March, United States airlines collected $769 million in baggage fees, but they also made an eye-popping $554 million from reservation change fees, which have risen as high as $150 for a domestic ticket on American, Continental, Delta, United and US Airways. Those airlines all charge up to $250 to change an international flight, and if you book your ticket through Orbitz or Travelocity, you have to pay the agency an additional $30 change fee (Expedia does not charge extra).

And these are just service fees you also have to pay any difference between your original fare and the new ticket price. The galling thing is that the airlines reserve the right to cancel or change flights themselves, without penalty. And the increase is out of proportion to what it costs an airline to rebook, now that everything is handled electronically: five years ago, fees were $20 to $100 for a domestic flight.

At least some airlines are not gouging their customers. Southwest does not charge passengers a fee to change a ticket and never will, said Brad Hawkins, a Southwest spokesman (though it does charge any fare difference). Airtran charges $75 for ticket changes, as do Alaska and Virgin America if you change your ticket online by phone, it’s $100.

In June, American introduced a “boarding and flexibility” package that gives you a $75 discount on flight changes, as well as early boarding and free standby, for $9 to $19, depending on the flight. Yes, you can now pay a fee to possibly reduce your fees, and that is not a late-night monologue joke.

Standby Travel Fees

When I recently flew from New York City to Detroit on Delta Airlines, I had a three-hour layover before my flight to Traverse City, Mich., so I tried to get on an earlier flight. But Delta no longer offers free standby travel instead, you can pay $50 for a confirmed seat on an earlier flight.

American, Continental, United and US Airways have all adopted a similar $50 “same-day confirmed” option, essentially eliminating free standby travel — unless you’re an elite frequent flier or paid a higher fare. AirTran, JetBlue and Virgin America still allow free standby travel, or you can pay a fee to switch to an earlier flight.

Here’s my problem with these fees: they’re completely one-sided in favor of the airlines. On the outbound leg of my trip, mechanical problems caused me to miss my connection and spend several extra hours in Detroit, but when Delta had the chance to get me to my destination early, I was asked to pay. Eliminating standby travel is also counter to an efficient flow of passengers: by filling empty seats with passengers who are ready and waiting, carriers can open up seats on later flights — potentially accommodating other travelers.

When I finally boarded my flight (which was delayed by rain), an elderly man ahead of me was turned away at the gate because his boarding pass was for a later flight. He seemed confused about why he couldn’t board, but the agent brushed him aside. There may not have been an empty seat to give him, but with storms bearing down, why not try to get an old man to his destination? Because there’s a fee for that.

Phone Reservation Fees

The fee to book a ticket by phone rather than doing it yourself online is now $15 to $35 on most airlines, except Southwest, which doesn’t charge.

If airline Web sites worked perfectly, and displayed every flight option, with clear disclosures about rules and fees, those fees might be justifiable. But Web sites have glitches, they don’t typically show every flight option, and online ticketing is only getting more confusing as carriers hawk hotel rooms, rental cars and travel insurance during the checkout process and make fee information difficult to find.

Many travelers did not grow up with a mouse in hand, and they should not be penalized for needing human help with an expensive, complicated ticket purchase.

Peak Travel Surcharges

Last fall, many airlines began imposing holiday surcharges for travel around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s — a practice that expanded to “peak travel” surcharges of $10 to $30 almost every day this summer.

Most travelers aren’t aware of these surcharges because they are not listed separately in price quotes, but FareCompare.com has compiled a helpful chart showing how much you’ll pay for peak travel through early 2011.

Rick Seaney, FareCompare’s chief executive, said this strategy allows airlines to raise fares on specific days, rather than across the board, which is a legitimate business practice, but why not tell customers?

“Having a bunch of unbundled fees and add-ons makes it more complicated for people to compare apples to apples,” Mr. Seaney said.


Airline Fees Test Travelers’ Limits

AFTER a United flight hit severe turbulence over Kansas on July 20, injuring dozens of people on board, Jay Leno joked that flight attendants administered first aid only to passengers who paid a $7.50 “triage fee.” It was a bit of morbid humor reflecting the view that airline fees are out of control.

Even the government is concerned about the fee frenzy, which generated nearly $8 billion for American carriers last year. The House Subcommittee on Aviation recently held a hearing to investigate whether airline fees should be more clearly disclosed to passengers, and the Department of Transportation is considering rules that would force carriers to do just that, in advertisements and during the ticketing process. But so far, the government has stayed away from the underlying issue that irritates many travelers: whether these fees are fundamentally fair.

While baggage fees have gotten the most attention, at least there are ways to avoid them (pack light, or fly Southwest or JetBlue, which allow one or more checked bags without charging). Spirit Airlines began charging for carry-on bags on Aug. 1, a controversial move, but unless that catches on, the fees below get my vote for most outrageous — because they are grossly out of proportion to the service rendered, are inadequately disclosed, or punish customers for the airlines’ operational flaws.

Ticket Change Fees

From January to March, United States airlines collected $769 million in baggage fees, but they also made an eye-popping $554 million from reservation change fees, which have risen as high as $150 for a domestic ticket on American, Continental, Delta, United and US Airways. Those airlines all charge up to $250 to change an international flight, and if you book your ticket through Orbitz or Travelocity, you have to pay the agency an additional $30 change fee (Expedia does not charge extra).

And these are just service fees you also have to pay any difference between your original fare and the new ticket price. The galling thing is that the airlines reserve the right to cancel or change flights themselves, without penalty. And the increase is out of proportion to what it costs an airline to rebook, now that everything is handled electronically: five years ago, fees were $20 to $100 for a domestic flight.

At least some airlines are not gouging their customers. Southwest does not charge passengers a fee to change a ticket and never will, said Brad Hawkins, a Southwest spokesman (though it does charge any fare difference). Airtran charges $75 for ticket changes, as do Alaska and Virgin America if you change your ticket online by phone, it’s $100.

In June, American introduced a “boarding and flexibility” package that gives you a $75 discount on flight changes, as well as early boarding and free standby, for $9 to $19, depending on the flight. Yes, you can now pay a fee to possibly reduce your fees, and that is not a late-night monologue joke.

Standby Travel Fees

When I recently flew from New York City to Detroit on Delta Airlines, I had a three-hour layover before my flight to Traverse City, Mich., so I tried to get on an earlier flight. But Delta no longer offers free standby travel instead, you can pay $50 for a confirmed seat on an earlier flight.

American, Continental, United and US Airways have all adopted a similar $50 “same-day confirmed” option, essentially eliminating free standby travel — unless you’re an elite frequent flier or paid a higher fare. AirTran, JetBlue and Virgin America still allow free standby travel, or you can pay a fee to switch to an earlier flight.

Here’s my problem with these fees: they’re completely one-sided in favor of the airlines. On the outbound leg of my trip, mechanical problems caused me to miss my connection and spend several extra hours in Detroit, but when Delta had the chance to get me to my destination early, I was asked to pay. Eliminating standby travel is also counter to an efficient flow of passengers: by filling empty seats with passengers who are ready and waiting, carriers can open up seats on later flights — potentially accommodating other travelers.

When I finally boarded my flight (which was delayed by rain), an elderly man ahead of me was turned away at the gate because his boarding pass was for a later flight. He seemed confused about why he couldn’t board, but the agent brushed him aside. There may not have been an empty seat to give him, but with storms bearing down, why not try to get an old man to his destination? Because there’s a fee for that.

Phone Reservation Fees

The fee to book a ticket by phone rather than doing it yourself online is now $15 to $35 on most airlines, except Southwest, which doesn’t charge.

If airline Web sites worked perfectly, and displayed every flight option, with clear disclosures about rules and fees, those fees might be justifiable. But Web sites have glitches, they don’t typically show every flight option, and online ticketing is only getting more confusing as carriers hawk hotel rooms, rental cars and travel insurance during the checkout process and make fee information difficult to find.

Many travelers did not grow up with a mouse in hand, and they should not be penalized for needing human help with an expensive, complicated ticket purchase.

Peak Travel Surcharges

Last fall, many airlines began imposing holiday surcharges for travel around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s — a practice that expanded to “peak travel” surcharges of $10 to $30 almost every day this summer.

Most travelers aren’t aware of these surcharges because they are not listed separately in price quotes, but FareCompare.com has compiled a helpful chart showing how much you’ll pay for peak travel through early 2011.

Rick Seaney, FareCompare’s chief executive, said this strategy allows airlines to raise fares on specific days, rather than across the board, which is a legitimate business practice, but why not tell customers?

“Having a bunch of unbundled fees and add-ons makes it more complicated for people to compare apples to apples,” Mr. Seaney said.


Airline Fees Test Travelers’ Limits

AFTER a United flight hit severe turbulence over Kansas on July 20, injuring dozens of people on board, Jay Leno joked that flight attendants administered first aid only to passengers who paid a $7.50 “triage fee.” It was a bit of morbid humor reflecting the view that airline fees are out of control.

Even the government is concerned about the fee frenzy, which generated nearly $8 billion for American carriers last year. The House Subcommittee on Aviation recently held a hearing to investigate whether airline fees should be more clearly disclosed to passengers, and the Department of Transportation is considering rules that would force carriers to do just that, in advertisements and during the ticketing process. But so far, the government has stayed away from the underlying issue that irritates many travelers: whether these fees are fundamentally fair.

While baggage fees have gotten the most attention, at least there are ways to avoid them (pack light, or fly Southwest or JetBlue, which allow one or more checked bags without charging). Spirit Airlines began charging for carry-on bags on Aug. 1, a controversial move, but unless that catches on, the fees below get my vote for most outrageous — because they are grossly out of proportion to the service rendered, are inadequately disclosed, or punish customers for the airlines’ operational flaws.

Ticket Change Fees

From January to March, United States airlines collected $769 million in baggage fees, but they also made an eye-popping $554 million from reservation change fees, which have risen as high as $150 for a domestic ticket on American, Continental, Delta, United and US Airways. Those airlines all charge up to $250 to change an international flight, and if you book your ticket through Orbitz or Travelocity, you have to pay the agency an additional $30 change fee (Expedia does not charge extra).

And these are just service fees you also have to pay any difference between your original fare and the new ticket price. The galling thing is that the airlines reserve the right to cancel or change flights themselves, without penalty. And the increase is out of proportion to what it costs an airline to rebook, now that everything is handled electronically: five years ago, fees were $20 to $100 for a domestic flight.

At least some airlines are not gouging their customers. Southwest does not charge passengers a fee to change a ticket and never will, said Brad Hawkins, a Southwest spokesman (though it does charge any fare difference). Airtran charges $75 for ticket changes, as do Alaska and Virgin America if you change your ticket online by phone, it’s $100.

In June, American introduced a “boarding and flexibility” package that gives you a $75 discount on flight changes, as well as early boarding and free standby, for $9 to $19, depending on the flight. Yes, you can now pay a fee to possibly reduce your fees, and that is not a late-night monologue joke.

Standby Travel Fees

When I recently flew from New York City to Detroit on Delta Airlines, I had a three-hour layover before my flight to Traverse City, Mich., so I tried to get on an earlier flight. But Delta no longer offers free standby travel instead, you can pay $50 for a confirmed seat on an earlier flight.

American, Continental, United and US Airways have all adopted a similar $50 “same-day confirmed” option, essentially eliminating free standby travel — unless you’re an elite frequent flier or paid a higher fare. AirTran, JetBlue and Virgin America still allow free standby travel, or you can pay a fee to switch to an earlier flight.

Here’s my problem with these fees: they’re completely one-sided in favor of the airlines. On the outbound leg of my trip, mechanical problems caused me to miss my connection and spend several extra hours in Detroit, but when Delta had the chance to get me to my destination early, I was asked to pay. Eliminating standby travel is also counter to an efficient flow of passengers: by filling empty seats with passengers who are ready and waiting, carriers can open up seats on later flights — potentially accommodating other travelers.

When I finally boarded my flight (which was delayed by rain), an elderly man ahead of me was turned away at the gate because his boarding pass was for a later flight. He seemed confused about why he couldn’t board, but the agent brushed him aside. There may not have been an empty seat to give him, but with storms bearing down, why not try to get an old man to his destination? Because there’s a fee for that.

Phone Reservation Fees

The fee to book a ticket by phone rather than doing it yourself online is now $15 to $35 on most airlines, except Southwest, which doesn’t charge.

If airline Web sites worked perfectly, and displayed every flight option, with clear disclosures about rules and fees, those fees might be justifiable. But Web sites have glitches, they don’t typically show every flight option, and online ticketing is only getting more confusing as carriers hawk hotel rooms, rental cars and travel insurance during the checkout process and make fee information difficult to find.

Many travelers did not grow up with a mouse in hand, and they should not be penalized for needing human help with an expensive, complicated ticket purchase.

Peak Travel Surcharges

Last fall, many airlines began imposing holiday surcharges for travel around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s — a practice that expanded to “peak travel” surcharges of $10 to $30 almost every day this summer.

Most travelers aren’t aware of these surcharges because they are not listed separately in price quotes, but FareCompare.com has compiled a helpful chart showing how much you’ll pay for peak travel through early 2011.

Rick Seaney, FareCompare’s chief executive, said this strategy allows airlines to raise fares on specific days, rather than across the board, which is a legitimate business practice, but why not tell customers?

“Having a bunch of unbundled fees and add-ons makes it more complicated for people to compare apples to apples,” Mr. Seaney said.


Airline Fees Test Travelers’ Limits

AFTER a United flight hit severe turbulence over Kansas on July 20, injuring dozens of people on board, Jay Leno joked that flight attendants administered first aid only to passengers who paid a $7.50 “triage fee.” It was a bit of morbid humor reflecting the view that airline fees are out of control.

Even the government is concerned about the fee frenzy, which generated nearly $8 billion for American carriers last year. The House Subcommittee on Aviation recently held a hearing to investigate whether airline fees should be more clearly disclosed to passengers, and the Department of Transportation is considering rules that would force carriers to do just that, in advertisements and during the ticketing process. But so far, the government has stayed away from the underlying issue that irritates many travelers: whether these fees are fundamentally fair.

While baggage fees have gotten the most attention, at least there are ways to avoid them (pack light, or fly Southwest or JetBlue, which allow one or more checked bags without charging). Spirit Airlines began charging for carry-on bags on Aug. 1, a controversial move, but unless that catches on, the fees below get my vote for most outrageous — because they are grossly out of proportion to the service rendered, are inadequately disclosed, or punish customers for the airlines’ operational flaws.

Ticket Change Fees

From January to March, United States airlines collected $769 million in baggage fees, but they also made an eye-popping $554 million from reservation change fees, which have risen as high as $150 for a domestic ticket on American, Continental, Delta, United and US Airways. Those airlines all charge up to $250 to change an international flight, and if you book your ticket through Orbitz or Travelocity, you have to pay the agency an additional $30 change fee (Expedia does not charge extra).

And these are just service fees you also have to pay any difference between your original fare and the new ticket price. The galling thing is that the airlines reserve the right to cancel or change flights themselves, without penalty. And the increase is out of proportion to what it costs an airline to rebook, now that everything is handled electronically: five years ago, fees were $20 to $100 for a domestic flight.

At least some airlines are not gouging their customers. Southwest does not charge passengers a fee to change a ticket and never will, said Brad Hawkins, a Southwest spokesman (though it does charge any fare difference). Airtran charges $75 for ticket changes, as do Alaska and Virgin America if you change your ticket online by phone, it’s $100.

In June, American introduced a “boarding and flexibility” package that gives you a $75 discount on flight changes, as well as early boarding and free standby, for $9 to $19, depending on the flight. Yes, you can now pay a fee to possibly reduce your fees, and that is not a late-night monologue joke.

Standby Travel Fees

When I recently flew from New York City to Detroit on Delta Airlines, I had a three-hour layover before my flight to Traverse City, Mich., so I tried to get on an earlier flight. But Delta no longer offers free standby travel instead, you can pay $50 for a confirmed seat on an earlier flight.

American, Continental, United and US Airways have all adopted a similar $50 “same-day confirmed” option, essentially eliminating free standby travel — unless you’re an elite frequent flier or paid a higher fare. AirTran, JetBlue and Virgin America still allow free standby travel, or you can pay a fee to switch to an earlier flight.

Here’s my problem with these fees: they’re completely one-sided in favor of the airlines. On the outbound leg of my trip, mechanical problems caused me to miss my connection and spend several extra hours in Detroit, but when Delta had the chance to get me to my destination early, I was asked to pay. Eliminating standby travel is also counter to an efficient flow of passengers: by filling empty seats with passengers who are ready and waiting, carriers can open up seats on later flights — potentially accommodating other travelers.

When I finally boarded my flight (which was delayed by rain), an elderly man ahead of me was turned away at the gate because his boarding pass was for a later flight. He seemed confused about why he couldn’t board, but the agent brushed him aside. There may not have been an empty seat to give him, but with storms bearing down, why not try to get an old man to his destination? Because there’s a fee for that.

Phone Reservation Fees

The fee to book a ticket by phone rather than doing it yourself online is now $15 to $35 on most airlines, except Southwest, which doesn’t charge.

If airline Web sites worked perfectly, and displayed every flight option, with clear disclosures about rules and fees, those fees might be justifiable. But Web sites have glitches, they don’t typically show every flight option, and online ticketing is only getting more confusing as carriers hawk hotel rooms, rental cars and travel insurance during the checkout process and make fee information difficult to find.

Many travelers did not grow up with a mouse in hand, and they should not be penalized for needing human help with an expensive, complicated ticket purchase.

Peak Travel Surcharges

Last fall, many airlines began imposing holiday surcharges for travel around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s — a practice that expanded to “peak travel” surcharges of $10 to $30 almost every day this summer.

Most travelers aren’t aware of these surcharges because they are not listed separately in price quotes, but FareCompare.com has compiled a helpful chart showing how much you’ll pay for peak travel through early 2011.

Rick Seaney, FareCompare’s chief executive, said this strategy allows airlines to raise fares on specific days, rather than across the board, which is a legitimate business practice, but why not tell customers?

“Having a bunch of unbundled fees and add-ons makes it more complicated for people to compare apples to apples,” Mr. Seaney said.


Airline Fees Test Travelers’ Limits

AFTER a United flight hit severe turbulence over Kansas on July 20, injuring dozens of people on board, Jay Leno joked that flight attendants administered first aid only to passengers who paid a $7.50 “triage fee.” It was a bit of morbid humor reflecting the view that airline fees are out of control.

Even the government is concerned about the fee frenzy, which generated nearly $8 billion for American carriers last year. The House Subcommittee on Aviation recently held a hearing to investigate whether airline fees should be more clearly disclosed to passengers, and the Department of Transportation is considering rules that would force carriers to do just that, in advertisements and during the ticketing process. But so far, the government has stayed away from the underlying issue that irritates many travelers: whether these fees are fundamentally fair.

While baggage fees have gotten the most attention, at least there are ways to avoid them (pack light, or fly Southwest or JetBlue, which allow one or more checked bags without charging). Spirit Airlines began charging for carry-on bags on Aug. 1, a controversial move, but unless that catches on, the fees below get my vote for most outrageous — because they are grossly out of proportion to the service rendered, are inadequately disclosed, or punish customers for the airlines’ operational flaws.

Ticket Change Fees

From January to March, United States airlines collected $769 million in baggage fees, but they also made an eye-popping $554 million from reservation change fees, which have risen as high as $150 for a domestic ticket on American, Continental, Delta, United and US Airways. Those airlines all charge up to $250 to change an international flight, and if you book your ticket through Orbitz or Travelocity, you have to pay the agency an additional $30 change fee (Expedia does not charge extra).

And these are just service fees you also have to pay any difference between your original fare and the new ticket price. The galling thing is that the airlines reserve the right to cancel or change flights themselves, without penalty. And the increase is out of proportion to what it costs an airline to rebook, now that everything is handled electronically: five years ago, fees were $20 to $100 for a domestic flight.

At least some airlines are not gouging their customers. Southwest does not charge passengers a fee to change a ticket and never will, said Brad Hawkins, a Southwest spokesman (though it does charge any fare difference). Airtran charges $75 for ticket changes, as do Alaska and Virgin America if you change your ticket online by phone, it’s $100.

In June, American introduced a “boarding and flexibility” package that gives you a $75 discount on flight changes, as well as early boarding and free standby, for $9 to $19, depending on the flight. Yes, you can now pay a fee to possibly reduce your fees, and that is not a late-night monologue joke.

Standby Travel Fees

When I recently flew from New York City to Detroit on Delta Airlines, I had a three-hour layover before my flight to Traverse City, Mich., so I tried to get on an earlier flight. But Delta no longer offers free standby travel instead, you can pay $50 for a confirmed seat on an earlier flight.

American, Continental, United and US Airways have all adopted a similar $50 “same-day confirmed” option, essentially eliminating free standby travel — unless you’re an elite frequent flier or paid a higher fare. AirTran, JetBlue and Virgin America still allow free standby travel, or you can pay a fee to switch to an earlier flight.

Here’s my problem with these fees: they’re completely one-sided in favor of the airlines. On the outbound leg of my trip, mechanical problems caused me to miss my connection and spend several extra hours in Detroit, but when Delta had the chance to get me to my destination early, I was asked to pay. Eliminating standby travel is also counter to an efficient flow of passengers: by filling empty seats with passengers who are ready and waiting, carriers can open up seats on later flights — potentially accommodating other travelers.

When I finally boarded my flight (which was delayed by rain), an elderly man ahead of me was turned away at the gate because his boarding pass was for a later flight. He seemed confused about why he couldn’t board, but the agent brushed him aside. There may not have been an empty seat to give him, but with storms bearing down, why not try to get an old man to his destination? Because there’s a fee for that.

Phone Reservation Fees

The fee to book a ticket by phone rather than doing it yourself online is now $15 to $35 on most airlines, except Southwest, which doesn’t charge.

If airline Web sites worked perfectly, and displayed every flight option, with clear disclosures about rules and fees, those fees might be justifiable. But Web sites have glitches, they don’t typically show every flight option, and online ticketing is only getting more confusing as carriers hawk hotel rooms, rental cars and travel insurance during the checkout process and make fee information difficult to find.

Many travelers did not grow up with a mouse in hand, and they should not be penalized for needing human help with an expensive, complicated ticket purchase.

Peak Travel Surcharges

Last fall, many airlines began imposing holiday surcharges for travel around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s — a practice that expanded to “peak travel” surcharges of $10 to $30 almost every day this summer.

Most travelers aren’t aware of these surcharges because they are not listed separately in price quotes, but FareCompare.com has compiled a helpful chart showing how much you’ll pay for peak travel through early 2011.

Rick Seaney, FareCompare’s chief executive, said this strategy allows airlines to raise fares on specific days, rather than across the board, which is a legitimate business practice, but why not tell customers?

“Having a bunch of unbundled fees and add-ons makes it more complicated for people to compare apples to apples,” Mr. Seaney said.


Airline Fees Test Travelers’ Limits

AFTER a United flight hit severe turbulence over Kansas on July 20, injuring dozens of people on board, Jay Leno joked that flight attendants administered first aid only to passengers who paid a $7.50 “triage fee.” It was a bit of morbid humor reflecting the view that airline fees are out of control.

Even the government is concerned about the fee frenzy, which generated nearly $8 billion for American carriers last year. The House Subcommittee on Aviation recently held a hearing to investigate whether airline fees should be more clearly disclosed to passengers, and the Department of Transportation is considering rules that would force carriers to do just that, in advertisements and during the ticketing process. But so far, the government has stayed away from the underlying issue that irritates many travelers: whether these fees are fundamentally fair.

While baggage fees have gotten the most attention, at least there are ways to avoid them (pack light, or fly Southwest or JetBlue, which allow one or more checked bags without charging). Spirit Airlines began charging for carry-on bags on Aug. 1, a controversial move, but unless that catches on, the fees below get my vote for most outrageous — because they are grossly out of proportion to the service rendered, are inadequately disclosed, or punish customers for the airlines’ operational flaws.

Ticket Change Fees

From January to March, United States airlines collected $769 million in baggage fees, but they also made an eye-popping $554 million from reservation change fees, which have risen as high as $150 for a domestic ticket on American, Continental, Delta, United and US Airways. Those airlines all charge up to $250 to change an international flight, and if you book your ticket through Orbitz or Travelocity, you have to pay the agency an additional $30 change fee (Expedia does not charge extra).

And these are just service fees you also have to pay any difference between your original fare and the new ticket price. The galling thing is that the airlines reserve the right to cancel or change flights themselves, without penalty. And the increase is out of proportion to what it costs an airline to rebook, now that everything is handled electronically: five years ago, fees were $20 to $100 for a domestic flight.

At least some airlines are not gouging their customers. Southwest does not charge passengers a fee to change a ticket and never will, said Brad Hawkins, a Southwest spokesman (though it does charge any fare difference). Airtran charges $75 for ticket changes, as do Alaska and Virgin America if you change your ticket online by phone, it’s $100.

In June, American introduced a “boarding and flexibility” package that gives you a $75 discount on flight changes, as well as early boarding and free standby, for $9 to $19, depending on the flight. Yes, you can now pay a fee to possibly reduce your fees, and that is not a late-night monologue joke.

Standby Travel Fees

When I recently flew from New York City to Detroit on Delta Airlines, I had a three-hour layover before my flight to Traverse City, Mich., so I tried to get on an earlier flight. But Delta no longer offers free standby travel instead, you can pay $50 for a confirmed seat on an earlier flight.

American, Continental, United and US Airways have all adopted a similar $50 “same-day confirmed” option, essentially eliminating free standby travel — unless you’re an elite frequent flier or paid a higher fare. AirTran, JetBlue and Virgin America still allow free standby travel, or you can pay a fee to switch to an earlier flight.

Here’s my problem with these fees: they’re completely one-sided in favor of the airlines. On the outbound leg of my trip, mechanical problems caused me to miss my connection and spend several extra hours in Detroit, but when Delta had the chance to get me to my destination early, I was asked to pay. Eliminating standby travel is also counter to an efficient flow of passengers: by filling empty seats with passengers who are ready and waiting, carriers can open up seats on later flights — potentially accommodating other travelers.

When I finally boarded my flight (which was delayed by rain), an elderly man ahead of me was turned away at the gate because his boarding pass was for a later flight. He seemed confused about why he couldn’t board, but the agent brushed him aside. There may not have been an empty seat to give him, but with storms bearing down, why not try to get an old man to his destination? Because there’s a fee for that.

Phone Reservation Fees

The fee to book a ticket by phone rather than doing it yourself online is now $15 to $35 on most airlines, except Southwest, which doesn’t charge.

If airline Web sites worked perfectly, and displayed every flight option, with clear disclosures about rules and fees, those fees might be justifiable. But Web sites have glitches, they don’t typically show every flight option, and online ticketing is only getting more confusing as carriers hawk hotel rooms, rental cars and travel insurance during the checkout process and make fee information difficult to find.

Many travelers did not grow up with a mouse in hand, and they should not be penalized for needing human help with an expensive, complicated ticket purchase.

Peak Travel Surcharges

Last fall, many airlines began imposing holiday surcharges for travel around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s — a practice that expanded to “peak travel” surcharges of $10 to $30 almost every day this summer.

Most travelers aren’t aware of these surcharges because they are not listed separately in price quotes, but FareCompare.com has compiled a helpful chart showing how much you’ll pay for peak travel through early 2011.

Rick Seaney, FareCompare’s chief executive, said this strategy allows airlines to raise fares on specific days, rather than across the board, which is a legitimate business practice, but why not tell customers?

“Having a bunch of unbundled fees and add-ons makes it more complicated for people to compare apples to apples,” Mr. Seaney said.


Airline Fees Test Travelers’ Limits

AFTER a United flight hit severe turbulence over Kansas on July 20, injuring dozens of people on board, Jay Leno joked that flight attendants administered first aid only to passengers who paid a $7.50 “triage fee.” It was a bit of morbid humor reflecting the view that airline fees are out of control.

Even the government is concerned about the fee frenzy, which generated nearly $8 billion for American carriers last year. The House Subcommittee on Aviation recently held a hearing to investigate whether airline fees should be more clearly disclosed to passengers, and the Department of Transportation is considering rules that would force carriers to do just that, in advertisements and during the ticketing process. But so far, the government has stayed away from the underlying issue that irritates many travelers: whether these fees are fundamentally fair.

While baggage fees have gotten the most attention, at least there are ways to avoid them (pack light, or fly Southwest or JetBlue, which allow one or more checked bags without charging). Spirit Airlines began charging for carry-on bags on Aug. 1, a controversial move, but unless that catches on, the fees below get my vote for most outrageous — because they are grossly out of proportion to the service rendered, are inadequately disclosed, or punish customers for the airlines’ operational flaws.

Ticket Change Fees

From January to March, United States airlines collected $769 million in baggage fees, but they also made an eye-popping $554 million from reservation change fees, which have risen as high as $150 for a domestic ticket on American, Continental, Delta, United and US Airways. Those airlines all charge up to $250 to change an international flight, and if you book your ticket through Orbitz or Travelocity, you have to pay the agency an additional $30 change fee (Expedia does not charge extra).

And these are just service fees you also have to pay any difference between your original fare and the new ticket price. The galling thing is that the airlines reserve the right to cancel or change flights themselves, without penalty. And the increase is out of proportion to what it costs an airline to rebook, now that everything is handled electronically: five years ago, fees were $20 to $100 for a domestic flight.

At least some airlines are not gouging their customers. Southwest does not charge passengers a fee to change a ticket and never will, said Brad Hawkins, a Southwest spokesman (though it does charge any fare difference). Airtran charges $75 for ticket changes, as do Alaska and Virgin America if you change your ticket online by phone, it’s $100.

In June, American introduced a “boarding and flexibility” package that gives you a $75 discount on flight changes, as well as early boarding and free standby, for $9 to $19, depending on the flight. Yes, you can now pay a fee to possibly reduce your fees, and that is not a late-night monologue joke.

Standby Travel Fees

When I recently flew from New York City to Detroit on Delta Airlines, I had a three-hour layover before my flight to Traverse City, Mich., so I tried to get on an earlier flight. But Delta no longer offers free standby travel instead, you can pay $50 for a confirmed seat on an earlier flight.

American, Continental, United and US Airways have all adopted a similar $50 “same-day confirmed” option, essentially eliminating free standby travel — unless you’re an elite frequent flier or paid a higher fare. AirTran, JetBlue and Virgin America still allow free standby travel, or you can pay a fee to switch to an earlier flight.

Here’s my problem with these fees: they’re completely one-sided in favor of the airlines. On the outbound leg of my trip, mechanical problems caused me to miss my connection and spend several extra hours in Detroit, but when Delta had the chance to get me to my destination early, I was asked to pay. Eliminating standby travel is also counter to an efficient flow of passengers: by filling empty seats with passengers who are ready and waiting, carriers can open up seats on later flights — potentially accommodating other travelers.

When I finally boarded my flight (which was delayed by rain), an elderly man ahead of me was turned away at the gate because his boarding pass was for a later flight. He seemed confused about why he couldn’t board, but the agent brushed him aside. There may not have been an empty seat to give him, but with storms bearing down, why not try to get an old man to his destination? Because there’s a fee for that.

Phone Reservation Fees

The fee to book a ticket by phone rather than doing it yourself online is now $15 to $35 on most airlines, except Southwest, which doesn’t charge.

If airline Web sites worked perfectly, and displayed every flight option, with clear disclosures about rules and fees, those fees might be justifiable. But Web sites have glitches, they don’t typically show every flight option, and online ticketing is only getting more confusing as carriers hawk hotel rooms, rental cars and travel insurance during the checkout process and make fee information difficult to find.

Many travelers did not grow up with a mouse in hand, and they should not be penalized for needing human help with an expensive, complicated ticket purchase.

Peak Travel Surcharges

Last fall, many airlines began imposing holiday surcharges for travel around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s — a practice that expanded to “peak travel” surcharges of $10 to $30 almost every day this summer.

Most travelers aren’t aware of these surcharges because they are not listed separately in price quotes, but FareCompare.com has compiled a helpful chart showing how much you’ll pay for peak travel through early 2011.

Rick Seaney, FareCompare’s chief executive, said this strategy allows airlines to raise fares on specific days, rather than across the board, which is a legitimate business practice, but why not tell customers?

“Having a bunch of unbundled fees and add-ons makes it more complicated for people to compare apples to apples,” Mr. Seaney said.


Airline Fees Test Travelers’ Limits

AFTER a United flight hit severe turbulence over Kansas on July 20, injuring dozens of people on board, Jay Leno joked that flight attendants administered first aid only to passengers who paid a $7.50 “triage fee.” It was a bit of morbid humor reflecting the view that airline fees are out of control.

Even the government is concerned about the fee frenzy, which generated nearly $8 billion for American carriers last year. The House Subcommittee on Aviation recently held a hearing to investigate whether airline fees should be more clearly disclosed to passengers, and the Department of Transportation is considering rules that would force carriers to do just that, in advertisements and during the ticketing process. But so far, the government has stayed away from the underlying issue that irritates many travelers: whether these fees are fundamentally fair.

While baggage fees have gotten the most attention, at least there are ways to avoid them (pack light, or fly Southwest or JetBlue, which allow one or more checked bags without charging). Spirit Airlines began charging for carry-on bags on Aug. 1, a controversial move, but unless that catches on, the fees below get my vote for most outrageous — because they are grossly out of proportion to the service rendered, are inadequately disclosed, or punish customers for the airlines’ operational flaws.

Ticket Change Fees

From January to March, United States airlines collected $769 million in baggage fees, but they also made an eye-popping $554 million from reservation change fees, which have risen as high as $150 for a domestic ticket on American, Continental, Delta, United and US Airways. Those airlines all charge up to $250 to change an international flight, and if you book your ticket through Orbitz or Travelocity, you have to pay the agency an additional $30 change fee (Expedia does not charge extra).

And these are just service fees you also have to pay any difference between your original fare and the new ticket price. The galling thing is that the airlines reserve the right to cancel or change flights themselves, without penalty. And the increase is out of proportion to what it costs an airline to rebook, now that everything is handled electronically: five years ago, fees were $20 to $100 for a domestic flight.

At least some airlines are not gouging their customers. Southwest does not charge passengers a fee to change a ticket and never will, said Brad Hawkins, a Southwest spokesman (though it does charge any fare difference). Airtran charges $75 for ticket changes, as do Alaska and Virgin America if you change your ticket online by phone, it’s $100.

In June, American introduced a “boarding and flexibility” package that gives you a $75 discount on flight changes, as well as early boarding and free standby, for $9 to $19, depending on the flight. Yes, you can now pay a fee to possibly reduce your fees, and that is not a late-night monologue joke.

Standby Travel Fees

When I recently flew from New York City to Detroit on Delta Airlines, I had a three-hour layover before my flight to Traverse City, Mich., so I tried to get on an earlier flight. But Delta no longer offers free standby travel instead, you can pay $50 for a confirmed seat on an earlier flight.

American, Continental, United and US Airways have all adopted a similar $50 “same-day confirmed” option, essentially eliminating free standby travel — unless you’re an elite frequent flier or paid a higher fare. AirTran, JetBlue and Virgin America still allow free standby travel, or you can pay a fee to switch to an earlier flight.

Here’s my problem with these fees: they’re completely one-sided in favor of the airlines. On the outbound leg of my trip, mechanical problems caused me to miss my connection and spend several extra hours in Detroit, but when Delta had the chance to get me to my destination early, I was asked to pay. Eliminating standby travel is also counter to an efficient flow of passengers: by filling empty seats with passengers who are ready and waiting, carriers can open up seats on later flights — potentially accommodating other travelers.

When I finally boarded my flight (which was delayed by rain), an elderly man ahead of me was turned away at the gate because his boarding pass was for a later flight. He seemed confused about why he couldn’t board, but the agent brushed him aside. There may not have been an empty seat to give him, but with storms bearing down, why not try to get an old man to his destination? Because there’s a fee for that.

Phone Reservation Fees

The fee to book a ticket by phone rather than doing it yourself online is now $15 to $35 on most airlines, except Southwest, which doesn’t charge.

If airline Web sites worked perfectly, and displayed every flight option, with clear disclosures about rules and fees, those fees might be justifiable. But Web sites have glitches, they don’t typically show every flight option, and online ticketing is only getting more confusing as carriers hawk hotel rooms, rental cars and travel insurance during the checkout process and make fee information difficult to find.

Many travelers did not grow up with a mouse in hand, and they should not be penalized for needing human help with an expensive, complicated ticket purchase.

Peak Travel Surcharges

Last fall, many airlines began imposing holiday surcharges for travel around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s — a practice that expanded to “peak travel” surcharges of $10 to $30 almost every day this summer.

Most travelers aren’t aware of these surcharges because they are not listed separately in price quotes, but FareCompare.com has compiled a helpful chart showing how much you’ll pay for peak travel through early 2011.

Rick Seaney, FareCompare’s chief executive, said this strategy allows airlines to raise fares on specific days, rather than across the board, which is a legitimate business practice, but why not tell customers?

“Having a bunch of unbundled fees and add-ons makes it more complicated for people to compare apples to apples,” Mr. Seaney said.


Airline Fees Test Travelers’ Limits

AFTER a United flight hit severe turbulence over Kansas on July 20, injuring dozens of people on board, Jay Leno joked that flight attendants administered first aid only to passengers who paid a $7.50 “triage fee.” It was a bit of morbid humor reflecting the view that airline fees are out of control.

Even the government is concerned about the fee frenzy, which generated nearly $8 billion for American carriers last year. The House Subcommittee on Aviation recently held a hearing to investigate whether airline fees should be more clearly disclosed to passengers, and the Department of Transportation is considering rules that would force carriers to do just that, in advertisements and during the ticketing process. But so far, the government has stayed away from the underlying issue that irritates many travelers: whether these fees are fundamentally fair.

While baggage fees have gotten the most attention, at least there are ways to avoid them (pack light, or fly Southwest or JetBlue, which allow one or more checked bags without charging). Spirit Airlines began charging for carry-on bags on Aug. 1, a controversial move, but unless that catches on, the fees below get my vote for most outrageous — because they are grossly out of proportion to the service rendered, are inadequately disclosed, or punish customers for the airlines’ operational flaws.

Ticket Change Fees

From January to March, United States airlines collected $769 million in baggage fees, but they also made an eye-popping $554 million from reservation change fees, which have risen as high as $150 for a domestic ticket on American, Continental, Delta, United and US Airways. Those airlines all charge up to $250 to change an international flight, and if you book your ticket through Orbitz or Travelocity, you have to pay the agency an additional $30 change fee (Expedia does not charge extra).

And these are just service fees you also have to pay any difference between your original fare and the new ticket price. The galling thing is that the airlines reserve the right to cancel or change flights themselves, without penalty. And the increase is out of proportion to what it costs an airline to rebook, now that everything is handled electronically: five years ago, fees were $20 to $100 for a domestic flight.

At least some airlines are not gouging their customers. Southwest does not charge passengers a fee to change a ticket and never will, said Brad Hawkins, a Southwest spokesman (though it does charge any fare difference). Airtran charges $75 for ticket changes, as do Alaska and Virgin America if you change your ticket online by phone, it’s $100.

In June, American introduced a “boarding and flexibility” package that gives you a $75 discount on flight changes, as well as early boarding and free standby, for $9 to $19, depending on the flight. Yes, you can now pay a fee to possibly reduce your fees, and that is not a late-night monologue joke.

Standby Travel Fees

When I recently flew from New York City to Detroit on Delta Airlines, I had a three-hour layover before my flight to Traverse City, Mich., so I tried to get on an earlier flight. But Delta no longer offers free standby travel instead, you can pay $50 for a confirmed seat on an earlier flight.

American, Continental, United and US Airways have all adopted a similar $50 “same-day confirmed” option, essentially eliminating free standby travel — unless you’re an elite frequent flier or paid a higher fare. AirTran, JetBlue and Virgin America still allow free standby travel, or you can pay a fee to switch to an earlier flight.

Here’s my problem with these fees: they’re completely one-sided in favor of the airlines. On the outbound leg of my trip, mechanical problems caused me to miss my connection and spend several extra hours in Detroit, but when Delta had the chance to get me to my destination early, I was asked to pay. Eliminating standby travel is also counter to an efficient flow of passengers: by filling empty seats with passengers who are ready and waiting, carriers can open up seats on later flights — potentially accommodating other travelers.

When I finally boarded my flight (which was delayed by rain), an elderly man ahead of me was turned away at the gate because his boarding pass was for a later flight. He seemed confused about why he couldn’t board, but the agent brushed him aside. There may not have been an empty seat to give him, but with storms bearing down, why not try to get an old man to his destination? Because there’s a fee for that.

Phone Reservation Fees

The fee to book a ticket by phone rather than doing it yourself online is now $15 to $35 on most airlines, except Southwest, which doesn’t charge.

If airline Web sites worked perfectly, and displayed every flight option, with clear disclosures about rules and fees, those fees might be justifiable. But Web sites have glitches, they don’t typically show every flight option, and online ticketing is only getting more confusing as carriers hawk hotel rooms, rental cars and travel insurance during the checkout process and make fee information difficult to find.

Many travelers did not grow up with a mouse in hand, and they should not be penalized for needing human help with an expensive, complicated ticket purchase.

Peak Travel Surcharges

Last fall, many airlines began imposing holiday surcharges for travel around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s — a practice that expanded to “peak travel” surcharges of $10 to $30 almost every day this summer.

Most travelers aren’t aware of these surcharges because they are not listed separately in price quotes, but FareCompare.com has compiled a helpful chart showing how much you’ll pay for peak travel through early 2011.

Rick Seaney, FareCompare’s chief executive, said this strategy allows airlines to raise fares on specific days, rather than across the board, which is a legitimate business practice, but why not tell customers?

“Having a bunch of unbundled fees and add-ons makes it more complicated for people to compare apples to apples,” Mr. Seaney said.