16 Fees We'd Like to Charge the Airlines


That $189 round-trip flight to New Orleans looked too good to be true. And, it was. Because once you arrived at the airport, you learned there was a check-in fee. And a checked-bag fee. And a carry-on bag fee, an in-flight magazine fee, a Spanish-language translation fee, a lavatory fee, and, of course, an 18% automatic gratuity for your flight attendants.

Yes, it seems these days that the only way to fly fee-free is by wearing a week’s worth of clothes and standing the entire flight. But what if the script was flipped, and you could charge the airlines fees? What would you ring them up for? Not enough leg room? Surly gate agents? Well, after flying over the holidays, we've got a few ideas.

Here are 16 fees we’d like to see the airlines charged. Please, feel free add your own below.

ON time status monitor

Misleading on-time status fee: $100

Hmmm… funny that this flight says “on-time” on the monitor behind the gate agent, but it’s scheduled to leave in 10 minutes and, whoa, look at that -- there’s no plane at the gate! Apparently today’s flight is captained by Wonder Woman.

Inefficient check-in fee: $100

The precision and attention to detail involved in placing a pre-printed sticker on a pre-checked bag must be right up there with diamond cutting. 

Outlet shortage fee: $25

You think it might be a little degrading forcing us all to gather around your magic electric pole in the boarding lounge like it's tossing out beads on Bourbon Street?

Drunk Bunny

Inebriated passenger fee: $65

There’s this thing bartenders do to people who're slurring their words and talking about the artistic greatness of “Hinder.” It’s called cutting them off.

Inefficient boarding fee: $75

There are smart airlines who’ve figured out that boarding from the outside-in is way more efficient than boarding from the back of the plane forward. And then there are airlines, one might argue, that want boarding to be a bit of a mess so they can offer "pre-boarding" for, of course, a fee. They should be billed.

Small seat fee: $25

Let's play a clever game of cat and mouse, where every time you cram more seats onto your plane, we up this fee accordingly.

Fat person on airplane

Overweight passenger fee

If you only get to use 80% of your seat, you should only have to pay for 80% of your ticket. Feel free to pass that charge along to the guy taking up 120%.

Excessive carry-on allowance fee: $50

So you’re trying to say that bag with an entire Bass Pro Shop stuffed inside fits your airline’s definition of a carry-on? Stop it. Make the cheap-ass check it so there’s at least SOME overhead space for those of us who only brought gym bags.

Late-night announcement fee: $45

There are only two acceptable things to get on the intercom and talk about at 3am on a red-eye. “We’re here,” or “We’re all going to die.” The breathtaking lights of Topeka are neither of those.

Lost luggage
FLICKR/Paul Iwancio

Lost-luggage fee: $100

While your suitcase no doubt appreciated that free trip to Turks and Caicos for a couple days, sadly YOU had to go straight home.

Bad entertainment fee: $75

If the only options are A Million Ways to Die in the West and SkyMall.

Airport floor

Missed-connection charge: $100

While the $10 voucher for “dinner” at Chick-fil-A is really too kind, having to spend eight hours on the floor at Hartsfield is worth a lot more.

Surly gate-agent surcharge: $45

Unless the 98,000 keys you’re pressing there to look busy are somehow preventing a nuclear war, there’s no need to act like someone just asked you for a kidney when they want a seat change.

Crying baby compensatory fee: $15 per hour of crying

No, it’s not the airline’s fault. But they can easily make this up by either: A) charging the people with the baby, or B) creating child-free flights. Or both. Really it should be both.

Wait for bags

Excessive baggage wait time fee: $30 for every half hour over 20 minutes

Baggage handlers have been changing shifts since the beginning of baggage, and handling. Don’t act like you can’t plan ahead for that sh*t.

Fee-charging fee: $25 per fee

Just publish the price that it’ll cost to get from here to there with: a carry-on, a checked bag, one can of soda, and a pre-assigned seat -- and be done with it.