Have the Airlines Gone Nuts? More New Fees

PHOTO: A Delta airlines aircraft takes off from the Ronald Reagan National airport as the sun rises in Washington, DC, June 9, 2011.

Lots of festive events coming up in July, including one for travelers.

There's the Fourth of July of course, along with Canada Day, Bastille Day and lesser-known celebrations like National Ice Cream Day (July 21) and National Nude Day (no, I never heard of it either but it's on July 14).

The one of special interest for travelers falls on July 1 and I call it, Pay-for-soft-drinks-on-Frontier Day. Actually it's more than a single holiday since that'll be the airline's new policy from that day forward (if you purchase the airline's cheapest tickets).

And you thought they were done nickeling and diming us. Hardly, and Frontier is not alone with new or newly increased fees. Have they all gone nuts?

RELATED: Frontier Airlines Will Charge Some Customers for Carry-Ons, Introduces a Fee for Soft Drinks

For more travel news and insights view Rick's blog at farecompare.com

Maybe "nuts" is not the word. Brazen comes to mind, but so does survival.

Let's look at Frontier again since they asked for it by charging two bucks for a Dr. Pepper (not to mention water and coffee). And how about Frontier's new carry-on fee? It doesn't apply to all Frontier flyers but for those affected, it rises to a mind-blowing $100 if you wait to pay at the gate (yes, just like Spirit Airlines).

Frontier's spin: the new bag fee "improves the travel experience" for loyal customers. Motley Fool's Brian Stoffel calls that an insult to our intelligence. "Come on, guys," he wrote, "Why not just say that you need the money?"

The new fee is a penalty for booking offsite. Book on Frontier and carry-ons are free. Or are they? You may face a much harsher financial penalty if you don't use a comparison shopping site (such as Travelocity, Orbitz or Expedia) and that penalty can be paying a lot more for tickets than you have to. This can and does happen if you don't compare prices.

I'm not picking on Frontier. Look how American, Delta, United and US Airways have all raised change fees from $150 to $200, which has the potential to affect most flyers since most buy non-refundable tickets, far and away the cheapest ones available.

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