Living with credit

Emily’s list: More airline fees edition

Emily Crone

I don’t know why I’m surprised when airlines add new fees. Sadly, it seems like there is no end in sight. The baggage fees instituted a few years ago when the airline industry was suffering were what kicked off the trend, and since then, airlines have begun charging for the likes of blankets, soft drinks and paper tickets, not to mention the fees incurred for redeeming frequent flier rewards. There have also been rumors about budget airlines, such as Ryanair, charging to use the toilets, but fortunately, that hasn’t happened yet.

Emily's list: More airline fees editionOn Wednesday, American Airlines got creative and announced a new fee for “Express Seats,” according to a press release. Are these new, fancy seats they’ve installed? Nope — now you just pay extra if you want to sit in one of the first few rows of coach (including the bulkhead seats) on domestic flights. I assume they use the word “express” since you’re the first group to get off the plane after first class. That’s not all, though: “Customers who purchase an Express Seat are able to board with group 1 of general boarding for their flight, providing them the convenience of being among the first coach customers on and off the plane,” says the press release. Big deal.

“Introductory pricing” begins at $19 per flight (which makes me think the prices will go up later). Here are example prices for Express Seats, according to the airline:

  • $19 for St. Louis to Chicago O’Hare
  • $29 for San Francisco to Dallas/Fort Worth
  • $29 for Boston to Chicago O’Hare
  • $39 for New York JFK to Los Angeles
  • $39 for Chicago O’Hare to Honolulu

Yikes. When I look up airline prices online, I’m always shocked when I realize how much more it costs after just the basic taxes and fees. Now we have to pay for bags, and then you pay no less than $19 per way to sit toward the front of the aircraft. What’s next?

One workaround I use for baggage fees is to have an airline credit card. I have a Chase Continental Business MasterCard that I use for my freelance business, and with that card, I get my first checked bag free when I fly Continental. But I do worry that as these fees add up, travel will begin to become unaffordable for some people. What do you think?

Read on to learn about my top 10 favorite personal finance blog posts from the past week.

1. Money Crashers lists five things you should do before you purchase a car. This most certainly includes taking a good look at your credit score and report!

2. Dinks Finance explains how you can help grow and preserve your finances by treating your relationship with money the same way you (should) treat your marriage.

3. Has your bank tried to convince you to opt in for overdraft protection lately? WalletPop reveals why the banks really want you to sign up for it.

4. Bible Money Matters gives tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft and lays out the steps for what to do if your identity is stolen.

5. This is a little older than a week, but very worth including: Man Vs. Debt discusses a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston showing how credit card rewards take from the poor and give to the rich.

6. Moolanomy offers four ways to flex your credit muscles and take control of that credit score.

7. Ask Mr. Credit Card advises a mom who is cosigning on her daughter’s first credit card on how to make sure things go as smoothly as possible.

8. A post on Money Ning explains how buying loads of travel souvenirs and shopping recreationally can make you not only knee-deep in credit card bills, but unhappy.

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