The 10 Worst Airline Fees To Ever Exist

To help you navigate the complex tangle of costs that now go hand-in-hand with air travel, check out this list of the 10 worst airline fees.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.


Between the cramped seats and unappetizing food most travelers are doomed to in economy class, plane travel can already be pretty unpleasant. That unpleasantness is only compounded by the airline fees that keep climbing year after year, adding unexpected expenses on top of already pricey tickets. Sadly, that goes even for low-cost favorites like JetBlue, who've just announced checked bag fees starting this year.

To help you navigate the complex tangle of costs that now go hand-in-hand with air travel, check out this list of the 10 worst airline fees.

10. Non-Internet Booking Fees

Although it makes sense to charge for changing or canceling tickets, the fees actually start right at the initial booking phase. Most airlines charge extra to customers who prefer to book over the phone or in person rather than online. Charges for the vast majority of major airlines (American, Delta, JetBlue, United, US Airways, etc.) are $25 for phone bookings and $35 for in-person bookings, but Allegiant deserves a special mention for charging $10 per segment for all methods -- on top of a $15 "convenience" fee.

9. Overweight Baggage Fees

What airlines consider overweight or oversize baggage varies greatly with each company, which makes it increasingly important to pore over online FAQs before even starting to pack. US-American, United and Delta lead the way by charging a whopping $100 for bags between 50 and 70 pounds and $200 for 71 to 100 pounds, along with a $200 fee for bags larger than 62 inches. Allegiant and Spirit are also noteworthy for considering bags over just 41 pounds to be overweight, although their fees are also smaller, coming in at $50-75 and $25-100 respectively. All fliers would be wise to weigh their bags before departure.

8. Carry-on Bag Fees
Most airlines don't charge for carry-on bags (yet) except for three: Allegiant, Frontier, and Spirit. Frontier's fees aren't too bad at $25-50, depending on booking method. Allegiant isn't too far behind at $10-35 online and $35-75 elsewhere. But it's Spirit that stands out (of course) with fees up to $100 for one carry-on bag for non-members. We'd tell you to check your bag instead, but even that can cost up to $100. Yikes!

7. Unaccompanied-Minor Fees

Having a young child escorted through the airport and seated near the cabin crew is certainly a good idea for the parents' peace of mind, but it comes at a hefty price of $75-125 for most airlines. Southwest's unaccompanied minor fees are set at a reasonable $50, but if the child is flying American, United, or US Airways, get ready to shell out an additional $150. And that goes double for round trips, of course ... and some airlines don't allow unattended minors at all. Do your research before booking!

6. Seat Selection Fees

Seat selection is an increasingly popular way to nickel and dime passengers by letting them pay a premium for more comfortable seats. These upgraded seats are often located in exit rows or near the bulkhead, which offer more legroom or storage space. Passengers can pay anywhere from $4 to $100 for the luxury of a preferred seat, depending on the airline. But beware: The extra legroom sometimes comes at the cost of seat width, seatback entertainment, the ability to recline, or even warmth in the case of exit row seats.

5. Pet Fees

Most pet owners would feel safer with their pooch or kitty sitting with them in the cabin rather than in the dark, cold cargo section reserved for pets. Air Canada charges only $50 for the privilege, but most others will tack on a $100-125 fee to your ticket. Delta's fee is particularly high at $200, and Hawaiian tops the list with a fee of $225 for having your pet in the cabin during one of their longer flights to or from the continental US. Some airlines don't allow pets in the cabin, so once again, do your research before booking.

4. Ticket Change Fees

Sometimes changing the day of your flight or canceling it altogether is simply unavoidable, but keep in mind that some serious charges may apply, depending on the airline and the change or cancellation date. Many airlines charge a reasonable $25-75 for same-day changes, but any other changes and cancellations may incur some serious fees, particularly when it comes to Delta (up to $450), US Airways (up to $750), and United (up to $1,000, which could book a whole new flight or five!).

3. WiFi Fees

Let's face it, most airplanes' in-flight entertainment systems are mediocre enough to make your miss your phone's Internet connectivity dearly, especially on long transoceanic flights. If you absolutely need WiFi onboard to get some work done or entertain yourself, you'll have to factor it into your ticket price: Airlines charge up to $19.95 for mobile devices and up to $49.00 for computers per leg of your trip, except low-cost carrier JetBlue, whose basic FlyFi service is free ... or at least free for the moment, while it's still in beta.

2. Snacks and Drinks
Complimentary snacks and drinks used to be a no-brainer on just about any flight, regardless of length, but nowadays you're increasingly likely to be paying for every pretzel you eat. Most airlines except Spirit and Allegiant still offer water and soft drinks for free, but the same can't be said for food. You can expect to pay anywhere from $1 to $12 for snacks, unless you're flying with AirTran, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest or United, who all still offer complimentary snacks.

1. Checked Bag Fees

With airlines constantly trying to turn profits, even one checked bag is enough to incur a fee in the vast majority of cases. The standard fee found on most airlines is $25, but some, including Frontier, Hawaiian, and Spirit, charge more or less depending on frequent-flyer membership and booking method. Be careful with Spirit in particular: If you don't book your flight online, you'll pay up to $100 for your first checked bag. Southwest, meanwhile, bucks the trend by not charging anything for checked bags (or carry-on bags, for that matter). And JetBlue, long the industry favorite for its free-checked-bag policy, is going the way of the older airlines this year, with plenty of new checked-bag fees to annoy fliers. Adieu, JetBlue.

Liked this article? Read The World's 10 Most Expensive Plane Tickets and 10 Places You Should Go While the Dollar Is Strong. Also check out Hopper's Airline Fees Calculator to find out how much your flight really costs.

This article originally appeared on

Before You Go

아메리칸 에어라인 퍼스트 클래스 키트
아메리칸 에어라인은 사무용 의자로 유명한 ‘임스’(Eams)의 실용적인 그러나 스타일리시한 제품을 제공한다. 8X10인치 사이즈의 누비 가방에는 임스의 상징적인 물방울 디자인이 새겨있다. 손톱 정리 용품과 핸드크림, 민트 향의 립밤 등의 더말로지카의 피부 관리 제품이 들어있다. Photo courtesy of American Airlines
에어 프랑스 프리미어 어메너티 키트
에어 프랑스의 보잉 777-300ER편엔 분리형 객실이 단 4개뿐이다. 여기서 양모로 감싼 2m짜리 침대에 면직 침대보를 깔고 비행하려면 돈도 돈이지만 무척 재빨라야 한다. 이 운 좋은 탑승객들은 가죽으로 된 지방시 가방 안에 비올로직 호쉐쉬의 페이스 크림, 아이 트리트먼트, 눈가리개, 그리고 물수건을 받는다. 보스 헤드폰은 덤이다.Photo courtesy of Air France
에어 뉴질랜드 비즈니스 프리미어 클래스 키트
두터운 파우치에 클라란스의 하이드라퀀치 크림과 립밤, 마치 ‘삐삐 롱스타킹’을 연상케 하는 줄무늬 양말이 들어있다. 특히 눈가리개에는 ‘잠자는 미녀’(Sleeping Beauty), ‘아직도 도착 안 했어요?’ 등의 재미있는 문구들이 새겨있다. 뉴질랜드 항공의 느긋한 감성이 묻어 있달까? Photo courtesy of Air New Zealand
영국항공 남녀 퍼스트 클래스
단단한 가죽 가방 안에 여성은 아로마테라피 어소시에이츠, 남성은 더 리파이너리의 미용제품들이 가득 차 있다. 이에 더해 여성용에는 데오도런트, 거울이 달린 빗이 들어있고 남성용에는 면도기, 쉐이빙 젤 그리고 아이크림이 들어있다. Photo courtesy of British Airways
캐세이퍼시픽의 퍼스트 클래스 여성용 키트
캐세이퍼시픽은 2013년에 좌석을 교체하면서 어메너티 키트에도 확실히 힘을 줬다. 클러치 지갑처럼 생긴 트루사르디 가방을 펼치면 유기농 화장품으로 유명한 에이솝의 페이스 크림, 핸드크림, 립밤이 들어있다. 주머니에 넣고 다니기 딱 좋은 빗도 귀엽다. 남성용에는 에르메네질도 제냐의 파우치에 ‘아카카파’ 미용 제품들이 들어있다.Photo: Philip Friedman
델타 비즈니스 엘리트 투미 키트
‘투미’는 2013년에 출시된 이 어메너티 키트에 자기들만의 독특한 나일론 소재를 사용했다. 안에는 맬린앤게츠의 네롤리 로션과 립 보습제 그리고 투미의 눈가리개가 들어있다. 웨스틴 호텔이 제공하는 알레르기 방지 침구, 다양한 요리와 제임스 베어드 상을 수상한 소믈리에의 추천 와인은 어메너티가 아니니 패스. Photo photo provided by Delta
에티하드 슈가 리미티드 에디션 키트
퍼스트와 비즈니스 클래스뿐 아니라 이코노미 클래스에도 어메너티 키트를 제공하는 에티하드 항공에게 감사를! 아랍에미리트 장인들이 수작업으로 만든 이 어메너티 키트가 그들의 전통을 지키기 위해 일조한다는 것 역시 장점. 베두인 패턴의 직물과 수술 장식이 달린 이 가방엔 이코노미 석에선 작은 산호 조각이 다이아몬드 클래스에선 르 라보의 향수 등이 제공된다.Photo: Philip Friedman