Two Airlines Drop Fees, Another Airline Raises Fees – Keep Packing Light

Who’d a thought this would happen? Delta Air Lines and Frontier Airlines have lowered and/or dropped some fees. Also, Ryanair has raised bag fees, but that should surprise no one.

Let’s get to the good news first.

Delta Drops a Frequent Flier Fee

Delta Air Lines says it will stop charging SkyMiles members the stiff $150 fee to redeem award tickets within 20 days of departure (it had been free only if you made plans to fly 21 days out).

However, at the same time, the airline has raised fees for canceled or rescheduled award tickets from $100 to $150 (but these fees are waived for Diamond and Platinum Medallion members). All in all, I’d say that’s progress.

Frontier Airlines Drops/Lowers Fees

More good news: Frontier is lowering or dropping airline fees.

Change Fee: Frontier Airlines has lowered its “change fee” – the money you have to pay to change your ticket – from $100 to $50.

Phone Reservation Fee: Frontier also dropped its $25 fee to make airline ticket reservations by phone or at the airline counter (as opposed to making reservations online); cost of phone/counter reservations now is $0.

New Assigned Seating: Plus, the airline has added “advanced seat assignments at time of booking for Economy AirFairs customers” – nice.

Why Not Tell Oprah?

So did Frontier trumpet this great news on the homepage of the airline’s website? Take out full page ads in the New York Times? Go on Oprah to spread the good news? No. There’s just a little announcement in the hard-to-find media section of the site – and our thanks to Terry Maxon at the Airline Biz Blog, or we might have missed this.

I don’t know why they’re keeping it quiet – I’d be shouting it from the rooftops.

Meanwhile, Bag Fees Rise at Europe’s Ryanair

Attention European travelers: Ryanair has announced new, higher bag fee rates for summer – on flights during July and August:

For online bag check-in

  • First checked bag fee: price rises from about $21 to $36 one-way
  • Second checked bag fee: price rises from about $51 to $58 one-way

For airport bag check-in:

  • First checked-bag fee: price rises from about $51 to $58 one-way
  • Second checked-bag fee: price rises from about $109 to $116 one-way

Pack Light or Pay a Lot

Ryanair also has a chintzy bag weight limit; whereas most U.S. carriers allow you a weight limit of up to 50 pounds, Ryanair only allows you about 33 pounds.

An employee of mine who recently saw her child off to a college Study Abroad Program in Eastern Europe knows all about the dangers of over-packing – but I’ll let her tell you about it:

“I told my beloved college student to keep it under 50 pounds,” she said, insisting on anonymity. “And my child swore it would be so. But at the Delta counter, we got the bad news: the bag weighed a whopping 63 pounds, so Mom had to fork over a whopping $150. Could have been worse, though. Ryanair would have charged me an incredible $377 in overweight bag charges.”

Do It Right the First Time

Start your trip right – check our FareCompare’s Domestic Airline Bag Fee Chart before you fly. And pack that carryon to save money.


Published: June 3, 2010