U.S. airlines continue to increase fees – more fees and higher fees. However, there are no standards or regulations when it comes to airline fees so travelers don’t know what to expect. Fee prices range widely by airline, and there is little transparency on the terms of each fee. For example, some fees are charged based on how stops are made, while others are billed as flat fees. Some fees have a base rate but increase from the time of booking to boarding the plane. As a result, cost comparison is extremely difficult, especially when travelers are evaluating multiple airlines. To make matters worse, fees are not properly disclosed – they are hidden within multiple layers on airlines’ websites and shrouded by vague wording. NerdWallet gathered the data and analyzed each fee across all major U.S. airlines. To help travelers save money, we defined several traveler profiles and calculated fees on a comparable basis to determine which airline is best (and worst) for each type of traveler.
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