From buying pillows and paying for check-ins to exorbitant pet fees and obesity charges, some airline policies and fees continue to annoy us. Here are some weird rules you’d better acquaint yourself with beforehand so that your blood pressure stays within control when you encounter them yourself.
1. Nothing can be more annoying than this. If you want to book a seating assignment in advance, you’ve got to pay. That’s what discount airlines Spirit is saying to its customers. They’ll charge you $15 for an exit row seat, $10 for both the aisle and the window (I’m surprised they’re not charging anything for the view), and $5 for that dreaded middle seat.
2. You’ll be surprised to know that Quantas and Air New Zealand have banned men from sitting next to unaccompanied children (for security reasons). Talk about being paranoid.
3. In the old days, you had to pay for ‘extra’ baggage. Nowadays, you have to pay for baggage –any baggage. Some airlines charge their customers to check luggage. One generally has to pay $15 for the first bag, $25 for the second, $100 for the third and so on.
4. This one is majorly absurd. Now you also have to pay to carry out you basic bodily functions. You want a pillow to sleep? You’ve got to buy it as JetBlue has started charging $7 for pillows. What’s more? One airline in Europe is thinking of charging the passengers (about $1.50) for using the washroom. Pay to pee.
5. If you can’t fit into a seat or, to put it bluntly, if you are obese, some airlines will charge you more for your flight ticket. That’s because, according to the airlines, the plane will have to burn more fuel in order to accommodate those extra pounds. You must, therefore, hit the gym a month or two before boarding your flight.
6. Airline guys are big hypocrites. Don’t get fooled by their “we-care-for-our-customers” ads. Some airlines will charge you an “unaccompanied minor” fees to take care of any minor you want to send alone. This ridiculous fee can go up to $100.
7. Everyone’s becoming ‘eco-friendly’ now. So everything is justifiably becoming “e-” as in electronic. You booking, your ticket, your bills, and even some of your boarding passes are now only restricted to the virtual world. But if you want a paper equivalent of any of those, you’ll have to pay an exorbitant price. Delta, for example, charges $50 to those passengers who want a physical copy of their plane ticket. Asking for a printed ticket in this age may not be very “eco-friendly”, but charging $50 for a printed piece of paper with a bar-code is absolutely absurd.
8. In some cases, a pet ticket can cost you more than your own ticket. Airlines have been charging pet fees for a very long time now, and the amount keeps on growing, reaching about $700 for bigger pets. Apart from that, you have to have the right cages or bags and all the correct equipment specified by the airline to get your pet on the flight. Your pet, moreover, cannot be a primate.
9. Your hard-earned reward points can’t really buy you a “free” ticket. If you’ve not informed the airline beforehand that you want to redeem your rewards for a ticket, you’ll have to shell out about $75-$100 extra. And if you want to redeem your miles and get a ticket through an agent, you’ll be charged for the “convenience”.
10. Changing your reservation can be a fairly expensive affair, costing you about $100-$200. United Airlines, for example, recently raised this fee from $100 to $150. So think twice, even thrice, before you make that final booking.