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Travel Expert: Airlines Increasing Fees, Not Fares

Picture of United plane
Wikimedia Commons

With summer just about over, the fall travel season is getting underway.  And local travel experts say there are some things you should know: be on the lookout for an increase in fees.

“The airlines have gotten a little sneaky.  They haven’t raised fares, they’ve raised fees.”

Travel expert and President of Gagnon Travel, JoAnne Verboom, says when making your fall travel plans be prepared. 

“And for the do it yourself traveler, looking for the least expensive airfare, will not realize it will cost them more if they’re traveling on United than American or others when traveling out of Grand Rapids.”

Verboom says United is following the competition and raising some rates.

“United has followed another airline has raised their checked baggage fee up to 30 dollars each way from the norm of 25 dollars each way.”

Another change comes from Southwest, which does allow you to check a couple bags for free.  But the airline does not pre-assign seats… and the cost of getting a better seat, just went up. 

“So you’ll be paying anywhere from 20 to 25 each way, for the privledge of getting onboard the flight before the mass of people board and you’re still not guaranteed the type of seat, but you have a better opportunity to get a better seat.”

And another bit of advice for those prepping to travel.  If you pick a discount airline that only flies on certain days, Verboom says be aware that if anything happens to delay or cancel your flight… you may be stuck until the next flight leaves.

“When you’re flying one of the ultra-low cost carriers, no other airline will accept their ticket, so it there’s a problem with any of those flights, you end up waiting, whether there’s a flight later that day or that week in order to get to your destination,  because they will not transfer to a different carrier.”

Verboom advises consulting your travel advisor about best practices to save money, yet get to your destination timely.

Jennifer is an award winning broadcast news journalist with more than two decades of professional television news experience including the nation's fifth largest news market. She's worked as both news reporter and news anchor for television and radio in markets from Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo all the way to San Francisco, California.