Travelers are still willing—or in some cases, forced—to pay airline fees. But there are ways to game the system.
So-called ancillary fees have become big business for airlines. In 2013 (the most recent year available), the top 20 carriers worldwide pulled in $20.4 billion on such fees, up from $2.1 billion in 2007, according to an IdeaWorksCompany report. Last year, Bureau of Transportation Statistics data show, domestic airlines pulled in more than $3.5 billion in checked baggage fees alone. (Tweet This)
More than two-thirds of travelers say they regularly pay a la carte airline fees when flying, according to a new survey from Switchfly of 2,039 adults in the U.K. In fact, most travelers prefer to do so, rather than spend more on a fare that incorporates those extras, said Diego Dugatkin, executive vice president of Switchfly, which makes software for airline loyalty programs.
The most common extras purchased: Checked bags (28 percent), preferred seating (22 percent) and in-flight meals (22 percent). The least-purchased add-ons included faster security access and lounge passes, which only 5 percent of travelers said they purchased.