As fees multiply, fliers alter course
By JENALIA MORENO
April 2, 2010, 11:50PM
Melissa Phillip Chronicle
Airline fees, airport delays and long lines at security checkpoints have changed the way some people travel, and travelers are becoming more creative in how they pack and plan. Webb can't make himself any shorter, but passengers are finding ways to travel lighter. Schoolteacher Jessica Jackson managed to fit all of her belongings in a small carry-on by planning to use hotel shampoo, lotion, hair dryer and iron. And she wore a pair of brown and black heels that matched all of her outfits. “I wasn't used to being a light packer, but you can adjust some things,” said Jackson, who traveled to a two-day conference in Boston recently. “If I can, I avoid paying for baggage when I travel for work.”
Many airlines now charge for pillows, blankets, movies and baggage. Houston's Continental Airlines recently started charging extra for the emergency row seats, with their extra legroom. And in the fall, it will start charging coach passengers for meals during most domestic flights. Such new revenue streams will bring airlines across the globe an extra $58 billion this year, for checking baggage, airport lounge access and booking car rentals, the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation reported in February. That's 12 percent of total airline revenue and double what airlines collected in ancillary fees in 2001.
‘Nickeled and dimed'
One bag free
To save money, Banas said, some travelers book vacation rentals with kitchens and washers and dryers instead of traditional hotel rooms. And some are taking another look at transportation alternatives. Peggy Clark and her son recently hauled their luggage and a flat screen television set with them during a trip from Houston to Tucson. Taking that gift to Clark's father for his 80th birthday would have been expensive if the two had flown. Instead, they rode an Amtrak train and avoided the baggage fees and airport hassles, Clark said. “I would definitely do it again,” said Clark, an office manager for a cat veterinarian. “It's kind of nostalgic.”