With fewer passengers airlines have had to find new revenue streams in the past year, and additional bag fees have been a favorite. At issue is the transparency, not all passengers with booked flights aware they will be charged for bags at the terminal. Bill McGee, aviation analyst with Consumer Reports, says the pandemic has given airlines an added excuse. “What the airlines usually call ancillary revenue, which is a nice way of talking about nickel and dime fees, has increased and increased, and during Covid it has increased even more,” he tells KTRH News.
Consumer Reports has begun a new program called “W-T-F?!?” It stands for “what the fee?” and allows consumers to report issues they have had with the federal government. “Consumer Reports just launched an effort to collect stories and complaints about baggage fees so we can forward them to the Department of Transportation, so if you go to cr.org you’ll see information there,” says McGee.
American Airlines was the first of the majors to initiate a fee for checked baggage in 2008. The others soon followed suit. McGee says the gold standard is still Southwest. “Southwest Airlines stands out from everyone else in this area because they don’t charge you for the first two checked bags.”
The W-T-F site at Consumer Reports can also be used to report unreasonable charges with cable, internet, event tickets, hotels, travel or utilities. Go here.
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