On the 23rd of September, two days from now, Mad As Hell Day will be upon us. What is Mad As Hell Day might you ask? Well let me tell you … it is a day when … you know what, I still can’t figure it out.
The American Society or Travel Agents, Business Travel Coalition and Consumer Travel Alliance have designated the 23rd of September as “Mad As Hell Day” to protest hidden airline fees. I find the 23rd of September a curious day for this given that the busiest travel days of the week tend to be late Sunday/early Monday and Friday … so why not protest the fees on a busier travel day, rather than stage this protest on a Thursday?
I have spent the past few days reading the “Your Stories” section of the Mad As Hell website, and every complaint is about a fee that is not hidden, but generally well known.
Checked baggage fees are not a hidden fee, in fact when checked bag fees were announced, it was widely discussed in the mainstream media and every travel site you could think of.
Victoria In Michigan writes: “we were allowed 2 free checked bags on UA. A friend’s bag weighed 70 pounds, 20 pounds over their limit. She was charged $200!” Passenger complaining about paying fees for overweight baggage … come on, there were fees for overweight baggage before there were even checked baggage fees.
Jane in Seattle writes “had to pay additional hidden fees on my flight to Seattle because I had unknowingly exceeded the number of allowable pieces of luggage.” Even before checked bag fees, airlines had a limit on how many bags a passenger could check … again, not a hidden fee.
Passengers seem to complain about fares jumping once taxes and airport/government fees are added in … these fees have been around since … well forever. If you take a box of tissues off the shelf at Target that are priced at $1.99 do you complain to Target that the $1.99 tissues are suddenly $2.10 because sales tax has been added?
I mean come on … lets complain about sales tax being a hidden fee … right?
I don’t like that airlines are charging for passengers to choose their seat selection … but these are not hidden fees. These fees are clearly stated on the website of every airline that has this option, and passengers see this fee option before they finalize the purchase. You see the fee before you pay … it is not hidden.
Is the fee annoying? Yes! Hidden? No!
On the site Steve In Virginia writes “the flight attendants boarded the people who “promised to stow their carry-on bags on the floor under the seat in front of them” before the rest of us who had checked our bag” … this is not a hidden fee. This is an airline procedural issue … and no fee was assessed or collected.
Bill from New Jersey writes: “Without these data we cannot effectively manage our travel programs. It is virtually impossible to budget and control our air travel spend”
Bill, having dealt with corporate travel might I suggest using a preferred carrier, or having your travelers fly with only 2 or 3 designated carriers so everyone is familiar with the fees? Additionally, the fees are listed clearly on every airlines website. Your travelers or in-house travel team can easily sort out the total cost of a trip in a matter of moments. The unbundled fares may require more legwork, but the fees are not hidden from your travelers or in-house travel team.
Anyone complaining about the fees Spirit Airlines on the Mad As Hell site … I skip their complaints. Why? Because Spirit Airline has many fees, but their fees are clearly shown on their website. They are not hidden at all; in fact the fees tend to be blatantly shown on the site. If you’ve paid $1 for a seat during a Spirit Airlines sale … do you honestly expect that your trip is going to cost you $2 round trip?
People throughout the Mad As Hell site complain about fares increasing … a fare increase is not a hidden fee, it is a fare increase. Do these people complain when the price of a 12-pack of Coke fluctuates in the grocery store because some weeks it is on sale and some weeks Pepsi is on sale?
Some complaints appear to simply be bogus, such as Mickey In California writing “$25 surprise extra dollars when boarding during a connection in Dallas because “it is an international connection.” Go figure!”
Mickey … I have connected through Dallas flying to Incheon with Korean Air, connecting from a Delta Air Lines flight, and connected between American Airlines flights at DFW flying to London. No one has ever stopped me to collect a $25 international connection fee.
So what is the I’m Mad As Hell About Hidden Airline Fees And I’m Not Gonna Take This Anymore! Day about?
It is about … I still have no idea.
If you are booking a flight, you should look at the terms and conditions of the fare and the airline. If you’re not booking from an airline website, maybe choose an online travel agency site that shows you the baggage fees for your airline.
But to be Mad As Hell about fees that are clearly disclosed and not hidden at all … you know what, I am going to start complaining that my 12-Pack of Cherry Coke gets assessed a hidden fee of $0.60 for bottle redemption … who is with me?