For the past several years the airlines have been pushing passengers away from their call centers, ticket offices and airport facilities for purchasing tickets, preferring to handle the transactions online to save money. After all, programmers and servers are cheaper than call center employees on a per booking basis.
But when the airlines start charging for bookings online something is just plain wrong in my opinion. American Airlines led the charge, initiating a $5 online booking fee for reward tickets effective back in June. And then Spirit Air, a carrier known for charging money for just about everything, actually introduced a $10 “web convenience fee” for the “convenience” of booking a flight online. Of course they didn’t just increase their fares by $10. That would make way too much sense and they wouldn’t be able to hide the booking fee in the fine print at the end of the booking process. Of course, I think that such a practice is actually prohibited by the US federal government and it doesn’t matter anyways because they pulled the fee out of their systems. But it is ridiculous that they even tried. Allegient Air does have a web-based convenience fee, but they sell the ticket with no surcharge at the airport. I’m convinced that they just know that no one will do that and so they pocket the extra $11.50 for each passenger.
I know why the carriers don’t just bundle everything into the fare and call it a day, but these practices are really nasty in many cases. It just reeks of slimebag tactics and certainly makes me want to have nothing to do with any of the carriers involved.
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