A new survey-based report from the travel firm GetThere has some bad news for road warriors: over the past year, companies are shelling out less money for airline fees.
Fewer Firms Reimburse for Checked-Bags
According to the report, 95 percent of the companies surveyed in 2010 said they reimbursed business travelers for a first checked-bag. Last year, only 78 percent continued the practice. Other changes:
- On-board food and beverage: 53% reimbursed in 2010; 42% in 2011
- Wi-Fi connectivity: 51% reimbursed in 2010; 50% in 2011
It must be pointed out that one possible reason for no big change in the Wi-Fi rate is that paying this fee allows employees to work on the plane.
Six Business Trip, Up to $300 in Bag Fees
A spokesperson for GetThere suggested not all employees are stuck with these bills because some companies may negotiate the fees, though it seems likely that more and more of these travelers are footing the bills themselves. And it adds up: a typical charge for a first-checked bag is $50 round-trip – multiply that by six business trips a year and the employee is forking over $300 a year.
How to Save on Fees
Fortunately, travelers can still save by flying airlines such as JetBlue and Southwest, which offer free bags, or use a carry-on. However, two U.S. airlines – Spirit and Allegiant – now charge fees for hand luggage, a trend that has spread to Europe’s Wizz Air.
Airlines Take in Billions in Fee Revenue
The news about corporate unwillingness to reimburse employees for fees comes at a time when airlines are adding more of them, and raking in more revenue from these extras. In 2011, for example, reporting airlines took in more than $22 billion from baggage fees alone. And this year saw airlines also hiking existing fees.