In my last post, I touched on something that is becoming more common: hidden costs in addition to the price you were told. I gave the example of security services charging more to use Alexa or Google, and pointed to the classic example of Spirit airlines.

But did I unfairly target Spirit and Ryanair? Let’s look at the new world of flying:

American Airlines, once the Tiffany of airlines, now has some high fees for things that are free on Southwest. To change a flight, it costs $200 in the US — and $750 when you’re a stranger in a strange land. American charges $8 for a blanket and pillow; a range of prices to select a seat; and $25 for a carry-on bag.

Delta Airlines has an equal domestic change fee to American, at $200 — but beats American with a change fee of only $500 when you’re in distress on another continent. Delta offers free carry-on bags, and charges $30 for your first check bag, $40 for your second.

United Airlines decided to go with a big, enormous red flag as their baggage policy. One cannot simply get an answer, one has to input flight details on its “Baggage Calculator” — so people like me can’t tell people like you what the best deal is.

Southwest Airlines is known for not charging change fees. This is a deciding factor for many people. It will charge you for a blanket and pillow, but not for a non-alcoholic drink (like Spirit). Southwest does not charge to pick a seat, because no one picks a seat. Getting a good boarding group, A or B, will ensure a great seat — though you will have to be one of the first to check in 24 hours before the flight. No carry-on fees.

I think Southwest is great if you can remember to be in front of a computer exactly 24 hours before your flight takes off. You will definitely not be the first one there, by the way. It’s very cut-throat.

JHA has sort of a different take on being cut-throat. We’re very friendly with our clients, but we do get a little crazy when they are being ripped off. Contact us to see if we can advocate for you.