6 Outrageous Fees the Airlines Haven’t Thought of (Yet)

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You are sitting in the window seat in, say, row 12 of an airliner, waiting as the rest of the passengers pile in, dragging most of their belongings as they try to avoid baggage fees. You are hoping, praying, that the empty middle seat next to you stays that way, rather than being taken up by a passenger who’s been doing laps around the Golden Corral buffet instead of a running track.

What are the odds? With airlines today filling close to 85% of available seats, the answer is: not good. But Delta will let you beat the odds, for a price. The airline has added a feature that lets you pay extra to give you a spot next to an unsold middle seat. I’d pay it in a heartbeat, to be honest.

Delta’s move to get money for nothing (and your drinks are definitely not free) addresses an old problem that used to dog airlines. Every time an airliner takes off with unoccupied seats the airline is saying bye-bye to potential revenue. You can’t make the plane shorter, or take the seat out to lower costs. In economics, it has been known as an “empty core” problem and raises the question: what’s the smartest way to fill in the empty part? The airlines used to solve the empty core problem by discounting fares to lure more passengers—behavior that led to fare wars, ruinous losses and bankruptcy.

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In today’s rationalized airline industry, the surviving carriers have removed entire planes and flights from the system so that there are 13 million fewer seats available this year—which leads to more crowded flights. The up-charge for sitting next to an empty seat is just another example of how the airlines have learned how to maximize the value of a plane’s real estate. They have moved away from selling everyone a seat for a basic fare to selling each passenger a customized trip. First you buy admission—a.k.a. a seat—then you keep paying up until you’ve reached the level of comfort and convenience that suits your lifestyle and budget. If you want any degree of comfort, less anxiety about boarding, edible food, room to breathe, overhead space, checked bags—and an empty seat next to you—just tick off the boxes and get out your credit card.

A la carte pricing has now reached a point that you can pay to not be annoyed. At Scoot Airlines, the discount priced sibling of Singapore Airlines, a Scootin Silence cabin puts you in a child-free zone for an extra $20. Business fliers needing to work would more than likely pay for this privilege. So, I supposed, would parents traveling without their kids—isn’t that the whole point?

So what other kinds of fees will airlines charge you for next? How about”

Armrest Control Fee: $10. Get full control of the armrest between you and the passenger next to you. Tough to explain when traveling with a spouse, though.

Climate Adjustment Fee: $15. You control the temperature in your area, so you aren’t sweating while the plane is on the ground and then freezing when the AC gets cranked up on takeoff. It’s 70 degrees all the time—for a price.

Vertical Comfort Fee: $9. Your fare gets you a seat. If you want to sit on the aisle, pay a fee. If you want the seat to go back into someone else’s space—ka-ching!

Oxygen Mask Fee: $7. For easy breathing should cabin pressure suddenly drop.

Terminal Lounge Fee: $5. Would you like  a seat while you wait to board? Of course you would. That’ll be one portrait of Lincoln please, and please keep your luggage off the other seats.

Shut Up Fee: $20. Pay so that the passenger next door is not allowed to share her vacation memories and photos.

Can you think of others? Let us know in the comments or tweet @Time #CrazyFees.

5 comments
Hae-SongPak
Hae-SongPak

Are you serious? Is this journalism? If you want an empty plane go hire a private jet because if that plane is flying empty all the time then the airline's going to pull the route. Then what oh you could on Amtrak. Wait they're too crowded too :(. Oxygen mask charge??? That is basic safety regulations and how are you meant to control your own climate in a large metal tube? You can already pay lounge access on certain carriers for about $50. I really believe that you should get a real expert before you continue writing factually incorrect or bogus and ruining the name that is TIME

zsandon
zsandon

Have Republican crews declare they will not land any flight until passengers renegotiate fares.

sirdenn
sirdenn

How about paying by the pound? Why should you pay extra for heavy bags (because they use more fuel) and not for some well overweight person? Should be good for the nations health too.

mhillje
mhillje

They could charge a use of paper products fee- $2 for toilet paper, paper towels or tissues.  A friend of mine that works at an airline told me that they were actually thinking about making you pay with a credit/ debit card to use the lavatory on the plane.  They could also charge you a fee to clean the lavatory after you use it, especially if you're one of the total idiots that always pees on the toilet seat or on the floor right in front of the toilet.

Maybe a Panty Liner fee for women, non "BO" fee if you want to make sure you're not sitting next to one of those smelly people, a sit-me-next-to-a-good-looking-single-person fee.  I think alot of us would pay extra to sit next to a hottie that's looking for a new boyfriend.  It's the perfect situation.  You have hours sitting next to each other, which means you're probably going to end up talking to each other about your lives and romance.  By the end of the flight, you should know each other well enough to decide if you want to take it further.  Think of it as a very convenient way to have a first date while on your way to your destination.  A little bonus would be if you both just happen to be going to a nice tropical island or some other romantic place already.  Let's see someone top that.

rascottdotcom
rascottdotcom

You have so far to go yet:

Respond to call bell fee.
Fee for use of sick bag - additional fee for removal of said sick bag.
Use of toilet us free but nede to purchase soap, toilet paper and hand towels.
Fee for crew member to address you by the correct name.
Fee for captain to land the airplane himself rather than leave it to the first officer.
Fee to remove baggage from self locking overhead bin.
Fee for use of bassinet.
Fee for removal of food tray after you have eaten.
Fee for use of stairs when de-planing (jumping down is not an attractive option).