Airline fees: what's next?

The proliferation of airline fees in recent years for formerly free services has certainly not gone unnoticed by travelers and the media. Charges for meals, luggage, entertainment systems and blankets seem reasonable and almost quaint when compared with Ryanair charging travelers to print out boarding passes and threatening to install pay lavatories.

With the latest move by American Airlines to start charging for window and aisle seats, it's now clear that airlines will charge for pretty much anything, no matter how much it annoys passengers. This got us wondering: what could airlines possibly charge for next? Here are some predictions for what might be coming soon to an airplane near you. One tip: bring a roll of $5 bills.


  • Accurate departure gate info - $5
  • Rat-free waiting area - $5

Seating options

  • In plane - $5; ON plane - free
  • Guaranteed Gerard-Depardieu-free aisle - $5
  • Left half of seat cushion - free; both halves of cushion - $5
  • Underseat legroom not replaced by beehive - $5
  • $5 charge per unit of attractiveness of person seated next to you (reservable in advance).
  • Having chatty neighbor moved to other seat - $100

In-flight charges

  • Opening and closing the overhead lockers during flight - $5
  • $1 to open coin-operated seat belt once the seat belt light has been turned off (only US$1 Sacagawea coins accepted).
  • All passengers must pay $5 for captain to 'make up time in the air' after a delayed departure.
  • All passengers must pay $5 or Gallagher performs watermelon routine.
  • Air sick bags - $5 reserved in advance, $100 at moment of need.

Entertainment and meal service

  • Live feed of people enjoying themselves in first class - $5 to turn off
  • Cup of water not dumped in lap - $5
  • Pour drink in hand - free; cup - $5
  • 'My Humps' on permanent repeat on personal entertainment system - $5 to turn off
  • 15 seconds to use the intercom for improv beatboxing or knock-knock joke - $15

Lavatory charges

  • $1 per square of toilet paper, or buy five get one free!
  • $1 or $2 for use, depending on your, ahem, requirements.

What do you think will be next for airline fees?

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[Photo: Kristie Wells]

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