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Stop the fees, already

This has simply got to stop.

U.S. airlines last year are said to have raked in $3.5 billion (that’s BILLION, folks) in bag fees. They’re bleeding us dry to the tune of $25 a bag, and they’re getting rich doing it.

Things aren’t much better here in Canada, where Air Canada and WestJet and Porter bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in bag fees and other ancillary revenues.

157939As if flying wasn’t painful enough, now comes a report at hotelnewsnow that says HOTEL fees in the U.S. could reach almost $2.5 billion this year.

Here’s what their report said this morning:

“Following the 2014 record of $2.35 billion, total fees and surcharges collected by U.S. hotels are forecast to increase to another record level of $2.47 billion in 2015.

The increase for 2015 reflects a combination of approximately 3.0 percent more occupied hotel rooms than in 2014, more charging of fees and surcharges, and higher amounts charged, for a total increase of approximately 5.0 percent.

Fees and surcharges emerged as a common industry practice around 1997. Another phase for fees and surcharges was when energy surcharges were introduced for a large number of hotels in 2000.

Examples of fees and surcharges include: resort or amenity fees, early departure fees, reservation cancellation fees, internet fees, telephone call surcharges, some business center fees (including charges for receiving faxes and sending/receiving overnight packages), room service delivery surcharges, mini-bar restocking fees, charges for in-room safes, automatic gratuities and surcharges, and baggage holding fees for guests leaving luggage with bell staff after checking out of a hotel but before departure, and charges for unattended parking.”

I really hate those resort fees. I mean, when I book a resort I’m paying top dollar. I shouldn’t have to cough up a bunch of extra fees that will bump my trip up in cost from high to insanely high.

There’s talk of the U.S. government cracking down on airlines that have been charging too much for their services. The U.S. also is pretty good about passenger rights for folks stuck on airport tarmacs and such. Europe is very good at that. But Canada is pathetic when it comes to protecting fliers, and travelers in general.

I don’t know why that is. Maybe our three main parties don’t want to side with travel types because they’ll appear out of touch with the average person. But I think the average person is just as fed up with bag fees and resort fees and rubbery chicken wrap fees and potato chip fees. I saw something the other day that a guy on one of those discount U.S. airlines was charged two bucks U.S. (about $40 Canadian at today’s rate) for a lousy cup of coffee. And it probably was pretty lousy.

Oh, one other thing. I saw something on PAXnews today about how vacation providers in Canada may be slapping currency exchange fees onto their tickets. Given the Canadian dollar that’s probably no surprise. But I wonder if they’d give us discounts if the Canadian dollar suddenly shot up to $1.20 versus the U.S. green back. (The answers are that of course they wouldn’t. And it’d be a miracle to get back to even strength vs. the U.S. dollar by 2020, you’d have to think.)

I wish I could say I’ll stop travelling because of all the fees. But I won’t. It’s my living, for one. And something I love, for another. But it sure riles me up something fierce to get nickeled and dimed and quartered and dollared and twenty five dollared like this.

Feel the same way? Drop me a line: jim@jimbyerstravel.com

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