10 Most Ridiculous Airline Fees

Traveling can burn a hole in your pocket. From booking to entering the plane to leaving the airport, you find yourself holding your breath and hoping that hidden outrageous fees are not thrown at you.  So buckle up and hang on tight to your wallet, because here are 10 of the most ridiculous airline fees you should try to avoid. 


carry on bag

Courtesy of Nicola/Flickr.com

1.Carry-on fee

The good ol’ days of carrying that extra backpack with a plane with you at no charge are long gone. Multiple airlines became tired of people taking advantage of their carry-on policy and lugging around multiple small bags to take on flight. To solve this, they thought charging US$25-$100 per bag would force passengers to reduce their baggage and prioritize. 


boarding pass fee

Courtesy of bark/Flickr.com

2. Boarding pass printing fee

If you arrived to the airport only to realize that you forgot to print out your boarding pass, then you and your bank account might be in big trouble. Your airline might not be as forgiving and charge you an additional printing fee for an inconvenience waste of their of precious time. While some airlines will only charge a reasonable $5.00, several reports show cases of an absurd US$110.00 printing fee just so you can have your boarding pass. But sir!  Don’t you know that your boarding passes are specifically handcrafted material from a very rare 5,000-year-old Sequoia tree in the Sierra Nevada?!

kids alone

Courtesy of Juhan Sonin/Flickr.com

3. Unaccompanied minor fee for kids sitting in a different row from parents

We all need a vacation from our kids, especially when we’re on a vacation with our kids. When parents request separate seating arrangement from their little ones, they might be slapped with a surprising additional fee of US$100.00! Looks like you won’t be getting that mini-vacation after all, as you silently weep, tug your kids along and hop on that plane to Orlando.

child lap fee

Courtesy of Rain0975/Flickr.com

4. Lap child fee

You would hope that a small toddler or a baby would not count, as long you can firmly secure your wriggling child on your lap. You might even try to rationalize: Why would they? I could just be 30 pounds overweight and it’d make no difference!. But no siree, most airlines will charge each child up to 10-25% of adult fare prices. When traveling with a small child, double check with several airlines to see what your options are.

phone fee

Courtesy of Marjan Lazarevski/Flickr.com

5. Phone booking fees

Sometimes booking online is so impossible that we cave in and phone the airline. But unfortunately, sometimes that can be a big mistake as certain airlines will charge you for booking over the phone. Even if you had discount flyer miles that can only be redeemed over the phone, you’ll still be charged.

fuel surcharge

Courtesy of Deni Williams/Flickr.com

6. Fuel surcharges

Yes, some airlines think that paying for a seat isn’t enough. You might be charged extra for fuel because otherwise–they would have to foot the gas bill themselves. And we absolutely can’t have that, can we?

switching seats

Courtesy of Superjet International/Flickr.com

7.Changing seats fees

Let’s say that you arrive to your airport at least a few hours early before your flight. You see on your boarding pass, you were assigned to be placed uncomfortably between two strangers. There are still many unassigned seats left on the plane, so you think it’d be no problem for them to switch you over to an available window seat, makes sense right? Wrong. Depending on your airline, they can charge you an extra US$20-$100 just to switch, leaving you no choice but to painfully fork over your money or bite your tongue as you wedge yourself between the strangers.

flyer miles fee

Courtesy of Christopher Neugebauer/Flickr.com

8. Frequent flyer miles membership sign-up fee

You’ve been a loyal passenger to a specific airline so you figure that you might as well become a member of their frequent flyer miles club to earn discounts. Some airlines will not make this easy (or cheap) for you. You may be charged US$50-$100 just to sign up! Nothing like paying money to save money.


pet carrier fee

Courtesy of Rob Marquardt/Flickr.com

9. Pet fees

Pet fees will be charged, understandably so, but the absurdity lies in the prices. Be prepared to pay in the hundreds of dollars. Some passengers report having to pay a whopping US$600 in pet fees just to transport their already crated and sedated pets. Before booking a flight for your pet, do your bank account a favor and research your options.

meal fee

Courtesy of Hajime Nakano/Flickr.com

10. Meal fees

Airline food is not known for having top-notch quality meals to please the connoisseur in you. Some longer flights will charge you an additional US$8-$15 just so they can halfheartedly plop your microwaved mystery meat in a sealed plastic container on your lap. Enjoy!

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