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Airlines Get Creative with New Fees

What will airline fees look like in the future? The Los Angeles Times got a glimpse at the Airline Information conference in San Diego last week, where industry representatives explored new ways to maximize passenger fees. According to a report from the Times, although airlines collect a staggering amount of fees as is—they made 36.1 billion in extra fees this year alone—they’re seeking even more revenue from surcharges.

Someday soon, flyers could see an influx of for-purchase extras from the airlines, in the form of optional add-ons and packages, reports the Times. These include insurance policies, such as one that pays damages if you experience bad weather during your trip, and the option to preorder a meal. (KLM Royal Dutch Airlines launched a program through which passengers can preorder onboard meals last year.)

The airlines are also looking at ways to customize add-ons based on past passenger data. According to the Times, “Perhaps the hottest topic was how to wring the most out of passenger data collected every time you book a flight.” In the future, travelers could see special package deals on offer from airlines, such as tickets bundled with onboard food and entertainment deals, that are personalized to suit individual passenger preferences.

New fees are a scary proposition for already fee-burdened flyers. But all told, we’ll take optional extras such as insurance policies over surcharges for once-free services and seating—like checked bags or exit-row seats. Perhaps this is a sign that the airlines are finally finished tacking costs onto every little thing. (That alarming airline bathroom fee might never come to fruition.)

What do you think about the possible new fees? Are they fair?

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