And the fees never stop!

View From The Wing had a post today about Delta’s new fees, and this as we all know is only the beginning of creative revenue enhancements. We can probably all agree that the “handling charge” for partner awards that DL instituted is ridiculous, although I would argue the same about the close-in fee for awards that many US airlines charge now. I’m not sure why Delta went that route instead of just instituting additional fees on their awards like their international peers do, which while ridiculous, are commonly accepted globally.

That being said, most of these fee increases aren’t that ridiculous, at least compared to United. Let’s do a little comparison here between UA and DL after DL’s “junk fee” increase:

  • Lounge pass: DL- $30 / UA- $50
  • Unaccompanied minors: DL- $100 / UA- $99
  • Pets in cabin: DL- $100 / UA- $100 (interestingly enough UA raised the price from $85 effective May 5, something I haven’t read about yet)
  • Pets as checked luggage: DL- $200 / UA- $200 (for medium size and up)

…and the list goes on. My point is that except for the “handling fee” for awards, none of these changes are revolutionary, and for that matter are basically just getting on par with their competitors. I think UA was on to something when they were talking about “a la carte” pricing and how that’s the route they might go. I think we’ll see the resemblance more and more every day. If the choice is between raising the fares across the board and instituting all these fees, count me in for the fees, and I don’t just say that because I am an elite. While I’d prefer to see no increase at all, it’s inevitable so charge people for what they choose to get individually, IMO. I’m excited to see what creative ideas the airlines come up with next!

Filed Under: Delta
  1. I don’t know how the financials work between airlines for partner awards, but assuming there is some sort of transfer this is just a simple cost offset. It devalues the term “award” but I see where it’s coming from.

    Everything in the bulleted list are definetely hard costs to the airline so might as well charge folks for them. RCC is a bit of a soft cost I think since it’s already there and open and it’s not like there’s any hard costs involved in going in there (unless you count pretzels and soda) but obviously they can’t just open the doors to the masses.


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