Americans Hate Airline Fees: FindLaw Survey

By Brett Snider, Esq. on June 17, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Americans really hate airline fees, a new survey reveals. And who can blame them?

Airlines are increasingly charging fees for services that were once included in the typical flight experience. Nowadays, some airlines are charging for carry-on bags, and even for window and aisle seats.

So just how many Americans hate these add-on airline fees, and is there anything consumers can do about them?


Higher Fares v. Higher Fees

According to the latest survey, 84 percent of Americans don't like the airlines' new penny-pinching direction. Only 13 percent say they support airline fees, because they allow customers to only pay for the services and amenities they use.

But as Americans are becoming more aware of these fees, a trend is emerging: Many U.S. air travelers say they would be willing to pay more for a ticket, as long as there are no fees. In's survey of 1,000 Americans, 53 percent said they'd rather pay a higher ticket price if it meant they didn't have to pay any fees.

But nearly as many, 48 percent, said they'd prefer lower ticket prices with additional fees for extra services.

DOT Promises More Transparency

As many Americans aren't happy with the perceived "nickel-and-diming" by the airline industry, there's some incentive for the federal government to act. In May, the Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed new rules that would require airlines to disclose hidden fees for basic services "at all points of sale."

USA Today reports that this is the last of three rule pushes from the DOT (the first two implemented rules for tarmac delays and required advertised fare prices to include taxes). Under the third proposed rule, the DOT would require disclosing fees for:

  • The first and second checked bag;
  • Carry-on items; and
  • Advanced seat assignments.

This proposal is open for public comment until midnight on August 21, 2014, after which it may become effective law. Until then, Americans may just have to choose airlines that reflect their own preferences on fees for services and amenities.

To learn more about airline rules and your rights while traveling this summer, check out FindLaw's section on Travel Rules and Rights.

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