Why are there so many airline fees and why do they seem so dubious? The short answer is economics. I know that’s not the answer you were hoping for (i.e. “Unforgivable ripoff”), but even the angriest flier has to admit that the video explanation below makes a lot of sense and we’re still enjoying the best flying conditions in the history of aviation.
Also, whatever your complaints about the current proliferation of airline fees, we still have it way better than travelers before the airlines were deregulated in the late 1970s. Before competition drove prices way down, tickets were batshit expensive. It’s a cold comfort, but nevertheless a fact.
Also again, with the airline fees famously imposed by entities like Spirit Airlines, now we get to pick and choose the nickel and diming, rather than have it all thrust on us in one lump un-itemized sum, like before.
Do all these sensible explanations make it any easier to watch the total cost of the flight skyrocket between your flight search results and hitting “purchase?” Not really.
But all of this is irrelevant to the bigger, scarier question about the future of air travel: How long can it go on like this?