Bogus airline surcharges become the norm


Airlines are sticking it to passengers all the way around these days. Baggage fees seem to be here to stay, seats in coach are shrinking in size, and some airlines are booting off passengers for even thinking about possibly getting sick. On top of all that, there is something super-sneaky going on in the fine print of the “fees” that some airlines (Delta/Northwest, I’m talking to you) are charging on top of normal ticketing prices.

First there was the “holiday fee,” and now it seems there is the random-whenever-I-want ”Peak Travel Day” fee. This bogus “Peak Travel Day” fee will not show up named as such, but it will be folded into the price of your ticket. There are now 30 of these PTD’s in 2010, with fees ranging in cost from $10 for peak travel days like March 7-8 for the Oscars, and $50 for peak travel day February 8 for the Super Bowl. Note: it doesn’t matter if you’re traveling because of these events or not, the prices stand higher. Other peak days like March 14 ($30) don’t seem to make much sense, unless they’re counting the annual Portland Curry Festival as a bang-up event. Next thing you know the airline industry will be in cahoots with Hallmark creating new fake holidays to jack up prices around. The tiny silver lining to this phony fee is the fact that they’re published, allowing savvy fliers to avoid the days, or at least decide that it’s worth it to travel on the peak days. For those of you on a budget, stick to flying on off-peak days in general, which tends to be Tuesdays and Wednesdays.