“Gotcha” fees are everywhere, waiting for the right moment to pounce. Don’t believe me? Just ask Rich Grabowski, who recently tried to book an airline ticket for his Mediterranean cruise — a seemingly simple task.
But not really. The airline he chose, American, didn’t actually fly to Barcelona, but instead offered flights through a deceptive arrangement known as “codesharing.” That’s where an airline gets to pretend its flights are its own, but they actually belong to a different carrier.
And that someone else — the airline’s codesharing “partner” British Airways — had a little surprise for Grabowski and his wife: If they wanted to sit together, they’d have to shell out an extra $98 per ticket for his transatlantic flight. Or he could take his chances, and get a random seat assignment — the choice was entirely his.
“That’s a hidden fee,” he says. “It’s unearned money.”