Airline Fees

by Brian Wolfman

David Lazarus has written this piece on airline fees, which he doesn't like. He sets out the airlines' position — that some travelers don't want the add-ons, and shouldn't have to pay for them — and then rejects it, saying that some things are so basic to the air flight (for instance, the seat and carriage of luggage) that added fees for them are unfair. Most people seem to agree in principle that if there are fees, at least they should be disclosed clearly and in advance. Is disclosure enough (particularly knowing that at least some airlines will do what they can to obscure the disclosures)? Or should the government regulate the kinds and amounts of fees that may be charged? In this regard, look back at an earlier post discussing a recent study showing (1) a rather steep decline in airfares since 1980; and (2) that fees are a small portion of what consumers pay for air travel.

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