I spent this week in Montreal for a conference. While flying I was reminded of a particularly curious difference between many airlines. The checked bag fee. Somehow, many airlines have figured out how to survive without passing this charge to their customers, while others like American Airlines have found it fiscally impossible. I found this cool comparison of airline service fees on the Southwest airlines website.
It’s interesting that the fee structure seems to follow the oft noted phenomenon of WiFi access being free at cheap hotels, but only available for a fee at more expensive ones. It seems that the “discount” carriers are often the ones with the lowest fees while the airlines that are branded with more of a luxury image have the highest fees.
I have no idea where they fly, but it should be noted that ExpressJet has the lowest fees and the cheapest drinks….but perhaps that’s because for a flight from Chicago to New York my query returned a ticket price of $42,342. Apparently there is an inflection point in there somewhere that brings the prices back down when the flights get really crazy.