This summer, be sure to pack some extra cash in your carry-on. More airlines are starting to charge for services that used to be free on many carriers.
Skybus Airlines, a new carrier based in Columbus, Ohio, that plans to take to the skies this Tuesday, promises low fares but will charge extra for everything from soft drinks ($2) to bag checking ($5 apiece for the first two bags) to early boarding privileges ($10 a person, except for those with disabilities).
Next month, Spirit Airlines, based in Fort Lauderdale, will begin charging for bag checking and onboard beverages, which had been free. It’s also moving to a single-class cabin but renaming its business class Big Front Seat and charging a premium for the larger seats.
Meanwhile, nearly every major carrier has done away with free onboard meals in coach on domestic flights, and has instead begun to charge for individual food and drink items, often at hotel minibar prices. Earlier this year, American Airlines, for example, replaced its $4 snack boxes offered on domestic flights of three hours or longer with offerings like Lay’s Stax Potato Crisps ($3), M&Ms ($3) and bottled water ($2) and now sells them on domestic flights of two hours or longer. On longer flights within the United States, American offers $5 light meals like breakfast bagel sandwiches, Italian wraps or Asian chicken salads.
Heaven help if you need to buzz the flight attendant for one of those ratty ass blankets.