FEES

Hiking fees for the holidays? Nice spirit, Spirit

If you’re flying on either Spirit Airlines or Frontier Airlines over the holidays, get ready to fork over some additional cash for checked and carry-on luggage.

Both Spirit and Frontier already operate on a different type of pricing scheme than most other airlines. They claim to offer rock-bottom prices on their flights, but make up the difference by nickel-and-diming their customers for just about everything else.
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The most unfair fees in travel

Just a few weeks before Dennis Main’s European riverboat cruise, a disc in his spine ruptured, confining him to a wheelchair. “My surgeon warned me that any long travel or excessive activity would be dangerous,” he says.
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Is there a cure for the upselling epidemic?

Airlines do it by quietly restricting the terms on their tickets. Cruise lines resort to good old-fashioned salesmanship. And the entire travel industry does it better, thanks to sophisticated software.

It’s called the “upsell” — and yes, it’s completely out of control.

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Why airfares are actually rising

If you’re looking for a cheap airfare, there’s good news, according to new research from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA): Continued declines in oil prices are leading to lower ticket prices.

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Traveling with pets may cost you more than you think

Mihejevs/Shutterstock
Mihejevs/Shutterstock
A carry-on bag is included in Lana Joseph’s ticket price whenever she flies from Cleveland to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on United Airlines. But if that carry-on includes Molly, her six-pound Yorkshire terrier, Joseph has to cough up an additional $250 round-trip.

“That’s way too much for a bag that goes under the seat,” says Joseph, a retired hairstylist from Akron, Ohio, who spends her winters in South Florida. “I can see a small charge, but not an exorbitant fee.”

Welcome to the topsy-turvy world of pet travel — a world that some say shouldn’t even exist. Americans spent an estimated $55.7 billion on pets last year, according to the American Pet Products Association, most of it on food and veterinary care. But an unknown portion of that amount also paid for plane tickets and accommodations for man’s best friends.
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You deserve a refund for those junk fees

Diego Cervo/Shutterstock
Diego Cervo/Shutterstock
What if they had to give it all back?

Imagine if someone forced airlines, hotels and car rental companies to return every penny they took from you under questionable circumstances. The checked-bag fee, often poorly disclosed. The resort fee billed to your room, whether you used the “free” wireless and unlimited local phone calls or not. The license recovery fees that pay for your rental car’s plates — as if that were optional.

These extras, which most travelers call junk fees, aren’t just expensive annoyances. Vast sectors of the travel industry have made them a cornerstone of their business operations, with airlines leading the way down this ethically troublesome path.

It’s a practice the industry delicately calls “unbundling,” or removing often essential components of a product from the base price to make it look deceptively cheaper.
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