Airfares are up 22% over last year. Tickets to Europe are higher still, up 29% over 2009, according to the Wall Street Journal.
A surf session on Travelocity confirmed the tough news for travelers. The best fares I find to London in July or August are well over $900 before the taxes and that jazz heaped on. London is a better bargain pre-Memorial Day or post-Labor Day, that’s a given, but I thought I might find something around $700. Rome, Amsterdam, Dublin, Berlin are all just as pricy. One can tell I have not been to Europe in the summer.
So we all get raked for summer tickets, plus those undecipherable fees that are not worth deciphering because they are not going anywhere just adding huge percentage to the total price paid. But the airlines are no longer stopping there.
First the airlines charged for a second bag. Okay, some people really travel heavy. But now all checked bags come with a fee. Did you think anything could be more annoying than fees for checked baggage?
How about Spirit Airlines’ audacious charge for carry-on bags? $20 to $45 to put an item in the overhead bin, space made scarce by the airline jamming extra seats in the plane. How will they execute the charge? What if I swear my bag will fit into the space under my seat and then I put it into the overhead bin anyway?
A part of me thinks Spirit will can’t make these charges stick and they will roll back the fees. But another part of me thinks other airlines will watch with fee-envy and start charging themselves. Its like the ATM fees. Once Citibank caved, Chase, one of the final holdouts, had to have some of the pie. Another WSJ article offers insight into that math behind the baggage fees.
The news is not all bad—hotel room rates are the one bright spot this summer. I am thinking Las Vegas, where once you get there the hotel rates are dirt cheap. In the city that is all about its hotels, rates are down 18% from a year ago. On the low end, four nights in July at Circus, Circus will average $39 a night. But why not seize a rare opportunity? Those same nights at the elegant Bellagio will only set you back an average of $202 per night. But if you’re going to spend $202, why not go all the way and go for the Wynn at $252 per night?
I would, but that darn baggage fee . . .