Fee Alert: Changes at Alaska and Southwest Airlines

Get ready for some changes to airlines fees, and by changes we mean a new fees and a rising fees. You didn’t really think fees were going down, did you?

No, says travel expert Rick Seaney, fees aren’t going down – but never give up hope! Listen:

New Southwest Fee

Southwest has dropped one of the most generous cancelation policies in the travel business. Up until now, if you couldn’t make your flight or had to cancel, no problem – you simply didn’t show up and that was that. Now, however, if your ticket is non-refundable (in other words, the cheapest kind), you will pay a penalty – the airline’s new no show fee.

Airline Fee Chart – see what you have to pay

As the Dallas Morning News put it, travelers “must use, change or cancel their tickets at least 10 minutes before departure or lose the unused portion of full fares and the remaining reservation will be canceled.” In other words, your ticket’s no good and you won’t get your money back.

The good news is, this fee is easy to avoid. Simply make a phone call 10 minutes before take-off, and say you can’t make it. That’s not hard, is it? You can then put the cost of the unused ticket toward future travel, and you won’t even have to pay one of those steep change fees.

Worst airline fee ever – and how to avoid it

Alaska Baggage Fee Hike

What a difference a pound makes. As of Oct. 30, Alaska Airlines is raising the fee for overweight bags from $50 to $75. That’s the one-way price, so this fee adds up. If a bag is 50 pounds, no overweight charge – but if it is 51 pounds, get out your wallet. Better yet, remove some stuff from your bag and add it to a family member’s lighter suitcase, or just ditch something you don’t need – unless you think it’s worth an extra $150 round-trip.

Aside: We’ve heard of people getting rid of wine bottles, shampoo and even a pair of cheap shoes to make the weight limit. What could you do without?


Published: September 16, 2013