Monday, May 11, 2009

Nickel and Dimed... Anyone Else Getting Tired of Being Screwed?

Think about the last time you bought a plane ticket. You probably went to Orbitz, Farecast, Kayak, or some other airline aggregator. Maybe they even showed you a fare which was fairly reasonable. In reality, it was far from what you ended up paying. It's not entirely their fault. See, they don't include the taxes and fees in the price they show you. And the taxes and fees can be exorbitant. And they can vary widely from carrier to carrier and route to route. It's actually becoming ridiculous how they keep tacking fees on. Like that fuel surcharge last year. Do you think they even thought about rescinding it now that fuel is half the price? Not a chance. They've become dependent on it.

It's not over there though. Then you go to the airport and want to check a bag. A frickin bag?! God forbid you want to bring something with you! That will be $15. Two bags... Jesus. It can be 10 percent of your plane ticket.

My roommate was on a flight a few months ago and they wouldn't even serve him water without charging him. Food? $10 a pop. Beers are as expensive as at a baseball game.

Unfortunately the airline industry has started a trend that is rippling through the service industry. Auto rental fees can now account for a whopping "30 - 35% of the rental". There's a facility fee, a tire surcharge, and an energy fee. But here's a tip for saving some money on renting a car. Rent it OFF airport. In fact, in Phoenix, it's half the rate if you rent it off the airport. Just take a cab or'll save you plenty.

Anyone else notice that Ticketmaster fees just keep climbing? They can be 26% of a ticket price and more. In fact, "Ticketmaster’s convenience fees defy logic — and should be publicly explained. Not only do the percentages assessed differ from show to show, they vary with differently priced tickets at the same show"(here).

Then, there was my issue with Wells Fargo last week - whereby they tried to screw me for allowing them to invest my money to make more money.

And how about those damn credit card fees?

As our economy is mired in a recession, I just wonder what tacking fees onto prices is really going to do? It's certainly not going to endear the public to these companies. In fact, it's going to create resentment, like its doing with me. It's going to eventually bring these companies down. I assure you. Companies like Virgin America and Southwest will continue to thrive and continue to create goodwill while overpriced, behemoths try any which way to survive - in the face of government bailouts and incompetent management. And they're not using the money to restructure or improve their operations. They're using it to survive just a little while longer.

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