Airlines jump on the nickel-and-diming bandwagon

Now it's not just hotels that want to charge an extra fee for everything from just opening the door to the minibar to in-room safes: According to Reuters, Northwest has announced that it will start charging for aisle and emergency row seats. Airlines have been starting to charge for formerly "free" services (weren't they included in the price of the ticket??), like food, and telephone reservations, and movies. Soon to come: Charging for a seat with a view, a surcharge on all seats not near the bathrooms, bag-checking charges, and how about seats in the terminal near your gate? Oh, the possibilities are endless. From the article:

    Analysts told Reuters that travelers should brace for more nickel and diming as airlines seek to recoup losses from soaring fuel costs and competitive pressures. Airlines are likely to test passengers' willingness to pay for an ever wider array of services.

    "We're just scratching the surface. I think 2006 is going to bring a tremendous amount of changes," said Terry Trippler, an analyst with travel Web site Cheapseats.com.

It also says that American Eagle gave up on trying to charge for soda, since no one was buying, so that's something. And a US Air rep said they'll only charge for new services, not existing stuff (like blankets and pillows, I guess). But still, here's another snip from the article:

    The possibilities for special fees are almost limitless, Trippler said. Airlines just need to be creative.

    "This is all gravy," he said.

Can we all, following the American Eagle passengers' lead, just say no to paying new fees?

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