The combination of 13 years of major airline experience and data mining of 17 airlines and over 680 fees can make one expert on the topic of ancillary fee nomenclature and their hiding places. Not that I’m suggesting that any airlines purposely hide fees; rather, that over the years, fees have found their ways into places that are topical but not always obvious. For instance, want to know the cost of a snack or drink? Perhaps you start with an airline’s in-flight magazine designed to inform customers of their choices while they’re actually onboard. Want to know checked baggage fees? Start at an airline’s homepage and look for topics like “at the airport” or “checking in.”
On a sliding scale of relative ease, there are airlines that post every fee imaginable for the consumer as long as you know the standard aviation lexicon. But, this is the exception, not the rule. Other airlines post most fees but have requirements such as first purchasing a ticket before letting you know how much that extra leg room will cost or how much that upgrade will be. Or, they ask you to call for pricing on checking your pet underneath the airplane. At TruPrice, we take a quality assurance approach to fee mining that rules out calling the airline because there’s no guarantee the information we’re quoted will be accurate. Instead, we look for written references either online on an airline’s site, through a press release, or in some publication sanctioned by the airline.
And then there’s Allegiant Air. Want to know how much your snack, meal, soft drink or beer will cost? Good luck until you’re at serving altitude. And how about those dreaded baggage fees? Want to know the true price of of your checked bags? Bon chance. While the Allegiant site obtusely states a fee between $14.99 and $29.99 for the first checked bag and $14.99 to $29.99 for the second checked bag will apply per person, we couldn’t find what accounted for the 100% markup from the lowest cost. And how about any more than two bags? Fahgettaboutit. Nowhere to be found. Though, the site is clear that the total number of bags allowed may not exceed 5 per passenger. But, just in case you do decide to go beyond the 5 bag limit, well, of course, there’s a fee for that as baggage in excess of the five (5) bag maximum specified in Article 60 above will incur a charge of fifty dollars ($50.00) per piece per segment.
Utterly confused? You’re not alone.