The Stupidest Fees of 2010

2010: The Year of Ridiculous Fees

This year may go down as one of the worst for dumb fees. From making travelers pay for carry-on bags or coercing them to pony up $39 for a seat in coach, domestic airlines soared above and beyond consumers’ expectations of just how far they’d go to hike up fees. While this year wasn’t so hot for ATM fees or so-called "free" checking either, most of the fees listed here are airline-related. It doesn't get more egregious than paying for peanuts. Photo Credit: Getty Images


Charging for Carry-Ons

Fliers weren’t pleased when low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines revealed back in April that it would start charging fliers up to $45 for each piece of carry-on luggage that they couldn’t stow under a seat. Of course, air travelers could save a cool $15 if they purchased their carry-on allowance online, but why bother? Photo Credit: _Fidelio_


Toilet Toll

Okay, this one happened across the pond, but that doesn’t make it any less stupid. Budget airline Ryanair caused an uproar when it tapped Boeing to retrofit more than 150 of its planes with coin-operated lavatories. The manufacturer flatly (and wisely) refused, but that didn’t stop Ryanair from going even further, asking Boeing to remove a few of the loos to make seat room. Photo Credit: rick


Continental’s FareLock

There’s nothing more satisfying than booking your flight before it sells out, or reserving the seat while shopping around for a better deal. Continental obviously knows this, hence its foray this year into charging fliers to hold their fares. The service, aptly dubbed FareLock, lets customers browse and save their seats as they always have online, except now they get hit with a $9-$19 fee to do it. “This new option is another way that Continental is giving our customers more choices and more control over their travel experience," said Chris Amenechi, managing director of merchandising in the press release. Sure, if that means choosing another airline. Photo Credit: Getty Images


Paying Extra for Coach

Time for one from the “sad but true” files: Last August, MainStreet reported American Airlines' (Stock Quote: AMR) decision to start charging passengers $19-$39 extra to “book the first few rows in coach.” The airline went so far as to rebrand those rows “Express Seats,” and in its press release claimed it was “providing [customers] the convenience of being among the first Coach passengers on and off the plane.” While this all sounds nice and dandy on paper, most passengers doubt any “perks” come with flying second class. Photo Credit: Getty Images


R.I.P. Free Checking

The checks, they are a-changin’. In November, Bank of America (Stock Quote: BAC) revealed it would end its free checking service, following the passage of sweeping financial reforms that included the CARD Act. As Brian O’Connell reported, “The die was cast in August, when the banking giant announced its new eBanking service, which offered free online checking account services like deposits, withdrawals and online statements … customers could keep their old-fashioned, paper-based checking accounts, but they’d have to pay $8.95 per month for the privilege.” Since when did paying for checks become a “privilege”?! Photo Credit: Hello Turkey Toe


Paying for Leg Room

Oops, they did it again: Continental Airlines takes third place in our stupid fee roundup for raising the cost of exit row seats in coach. While prices vary, MainStreet reported that these seats cost $59 on one flight from Newark to Houston, and some airlines regularly charge for roomier seats. US Airways, for example, asks customers for $5-$30 extra to get a view of the friendly skies from the window seat. Photo Credit: Anthony Quintano


Paying for Wiggle Room

It’s no big secret that America has a weight problem. But talk about adding insult to injury: Mainstreet reported that United Airlines really offers a “fat fee,” and Southwest Airlines was notoriously thrown under the bus (or should we say belly?) this year for booting film director Kevin Smith off one of its flights for being too heavy. Photo Credit: Kyle May


Paying for Peanuts

Now, here’s a fee where you’re literally paying for nothing. As we reported, Delta, Alaska and United currently charge up to $7 for snacks, while US Airways hijacks $2 from passengers for a simple bottle of water. You could satiate your appetite with the carrier’s $6 snack box, but then you’d be paying 400% more than the supermarket price, and that’s just stupid. Photo Credit: EuroMagic


Stop Paying Stupid Fees!

Don’t be a dummy and overpay! MainStreet shows you how to avoid stupid baggage fees. Photo Credit: Getty Images


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