Airline Fees Seen As Anti-Family
CHARLOTTE, NC- A family that sits together, pays together.
Families say airline's quest for more money is making it harder for them to fly together.
The Matthews are a family of five with big travel price tags and added fees to top it off.
"When it's already over a thousand and you budget in that thousand and then it says 'oh actually it's 1,500' I'm like what do you mean? I can't afford that," said Anita Matthews, a North Charlotte resident.
Local travel expert Phil Angelo says more families are having trouble sitting together. Fees for aisle or window seats vary, but can cost up to 25 dollars extra each way.
"A family of six. Right up front, pick six seats. Six times 25 is $150 dollars. Just in fees that they didn't know they were going to have to pay," said Angelo, owner of Leisure Travel Experts.
Since last year, airlines like American, United and Delta have increased the percentage of seats they reserve for elite frequent flyers or customers willing to pay more. Other airlines like US Airways have had choice seat programs for years.
Spirit and allegiant now charge for any seat reservation made prior to check-in.
Despite new fees, airlines say they have always tried to accommodate families and that hasn't changed.
In an e-mail to Fox Charlotte, Airlines for America wrote, "The customer wins-having ultimate ability to vote with their spending on varying products that are priced differently."
Angelo's best advice is to book early, even months in advance.
"10 to 15 percent that they set aside as free open seats are booked first. That's what the people grab up,” said Angelo.
Angelo says he doesn't expect seat fees to go away, but he does recommend writing to your representatives to ask for fees to be given up-front.
He says that could help eliminate hidden fees.