The Days of Comparing Airfares Are Gone

With the recent announcement from Spirit Airlines that they were going to charge as much as $100 for a carry-on bag, the days of simply comparing airfare prices are long gone. In fact, says Charlie Leocha, director of the Consumer Travel Alliance, this is a wake-up call for the Department of Transportation. “Consumers don’t fully understand just how much these extra fees end up adding to the total cost of travel.” He adds, “Our surveys have shown that more than half of the airline travelers in the U.S. find themselves surprised by extra fees after they have purchased their airline tickets.” Leocha notes that a typical US Airways flight from Washington Reagan to Boston can be purchased with an airfare of between $140 to $170 on most dates with an advanced purchase. Baggage charges for two checked bags will cost $120 round-trip, adding 70 to 85 percent to the cost of travel. Adding a special seat reservation can easily double the cost of travel. “Unless a passenger is traveling with only a small purse,” notes Leocha, “they will be required to pay some sort of fee on Spirit Airlines, which makes comparing only airfares bogus.” Make sure you take into account the price of luggage and reserving a seat the next time you book a flight!