Since January 1, passengers have been treated to a nonstop roller coaster ride of airline bankruptcies and mergers, fuel surcharges, and imaginative new ways of charging for "perks" that were once free. The devil is in the details, however, and knowing which airlines have added new fees can go a long way in helping you compare apples to apples in your airfare search.
Here's a rundown of the new fees assessed by each airline since the calendar turned to 2008. (Most of these fees affect domestic travel. International fees may vary.)
New airline fees since January 1, 2008:
- Air Canada: $25 each way for a second checked bag.
- AirTran: $10 each way for a second checked bag.
- Alaska Airlines and Horizon: $15 to book flights through reservation agents or airport sales desk.
- American Airlines: $15 each-way for the first checked bag, $25 each way for a second checked bag, and $100 for the third, fourth, and fifth checked bags starting June 15; $3 for snacks, $6 for meals and liquor on domestic flights (sandwiches or wraps, no vegetarian options); eliminated online booking bonus of 500 miles for round-trip first- or business-class tickets, and 250 miles for round-trip coach fares.
- Continental: $25 each way for a second checked bag.
- Delta: $25 each way for a second checked bag; airline provides complimentary snacks, but some snacks and meals cost an extra $1 to $8, depending on the item.
- Frontier: $25 each way for a second checked bag.
- JetBlue: $10 for extra legroom, and $20 each way for a second checked bag starting June 1. Change fee increased to $100.
- Midwest: $20 for a second checked bag.
- Northwest: $25 each way for a second checked bag.
- Spirit: $10 fee for checked luggage reserved online, and a $20 fee for luggage checked at the airport.
- Southwest: $25 each way for a third checked bag, and $50 for the fourth through ninth bags.
- United: $25 each way for a second checked bag; $5 for snack boxes, with sandwiches and salads available at varying prices; increased ticket change fee; Saturday night stays are now required for tickets in 65 percent of the markets it serves.
- US Airways: $25 each way for a second checked bag; eliminated the 500-mile minimum mileage award granted for short-haul flights; will charge between $5 and $30 each way for aisle and window seats, matching other carriers; you won't have to pay for onboard snacks because there aren't any.
- Virgin America: $25 each way for a second checked bag.
For another approach to covering the fees for checked bags, check out the chart on our partner site, Airfarewatchdog.com.
Editor's Note: SmarterTravel.com is published by Smarter Travel Media LLC, a member of the TripAdvisor Media Network, which also owns Airfarewatchdog.com.