EL PASO, Texas -
Approximately 25 million people travel during the months of November, December and January. That in itself is not really news, of course.
What is news is how much each airline charges in hidden fees, and how little travelers actually know about them.
"Its outrageous. Its gone from completely free to up to $75 dollars which is ridiculous. They should account for at least one (checked) bag per customer," Pam Agullo said.
What Agullo is talking about are the luggage fees almost every airline charges for a checked bag. The prices have a steep price with some companies and they range anywhere from $17at its cheapest to $75 at its most expensive.
Many of these bag fees are presented after the customer has purchased a ticket and they are often forced to pay them at the ticket counter. For some customers this has become enough to take their business elsewhere.
"We have two kids and we are always traveling with them so we have a bunch of stuff like car seats and a bag for each person so we don't really have to worry about that with Southwest," Kezia Mosteak said.
Baggage fees are not the only hidden fee that travelers face every time they purchase a plane ticket. A lesser known surcharge is the phone reservation charge; if a customer wants to speak to a representative to book a flight, it will cost them. Phone charge fees are not cheap either, these fees range anywhere from $10 to $35 dollars. Currently, the only two companies that do not charge customers for a phone reservation are Frontier and Southwest airlines.
Customers flying out of El Paso International Airport all seemed to agree on one thing: if the fee is unavoidable, companies should not hide it. The lack of transparency that many companies operate with in regards to hidden fees is what seems to have customers the most dissatisfied.
"I think it's just better if they bundle everything up front and give you the price that youre going to get and that you're going to pay through out your travel, especially for people who are trying to economize and make that dollar last, it can be unpredictable," Frank Agullo said.
Consumers can take preventive measures to limit those fees. These measures are easy enough to do every time a consumer is planning to book a flight. First and foremost, a consumer should always book a flight online to avoid an unnecessary phone charge. A major fee can be avoided if the consumer does not change their travel date once it has been booked, and always plan to travel light to avoid paying a checked bag fee.