All ancillary airline fees are not created equally.

And some are downright baffling.  My research into over three dozen fees on 10 large US airlines reveals that not only can they be difficult to find if you don’t know where to look, but that fee language can end up costing  you much more if you’re not aware of the fine print.

For instance, some airlines take all excess baggage fees, oversize fees, and overweight fees and add them together while others require only the higher of any fees.  This can make a difference of hundreds of dollars for baggage alone.  One airline’s fees, in a scenario of three checked bags with the third max allowable size and weight, would be $660 for those three bags alone.  And I shudder to print what four bags would cost under the same scenario.

Want to take your little furry friend with you?  Better make sure the pet-in-cabin fee is from departure to destination and not per segment – as some airlines charge.

Other fees like ticket change fees can have their own catch.  While some airlines charge a flat ticket change fee, others add a surcharge if the ticket was bought from any external party such as a travel agent or one of the major on-line travel agents.  Some even charge this fee if a codeshare partner issued the ticket.  And make sure you do it online, or you may get hit with another fee for changing your ticket at the airport or over the phone.

And what about standby?  Some airlines do not allow unconfirmed standby while others creatively let you standby for free, but only if the flight you want is completely booked.  If there’s one revenue seat available for you to book, you must pay the confirmed fee.  Your only hope for “free” standby is that a 100% booked flight has a no show.  How’s that for lowering your anxiety level?

Don’t be disheartened, though.  The TruPrice engine will do all this work for you.  On June 30th, you’ll be able to see the true price of your ticket with all of your ancillary fees for domestic travel aggregated into the price.  In those instances where specific rules like per segment verses completed travel may differentiate one airline from another, you’ll be able to see those as well by simply hovering over the airline’s fee quotes.

Welcome to the new world of airline ticket purchasing.  Welcome to TruPrice.


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