Would fliers pay extra for an overhead bin or an empty middle seat?
Recent surveys reinforce what you already know and likely fume about: Fliers hate baggage fees more than any other fee tacked on to airfares.
Travel booking website Fly.com confirmed that prevailing sentiment when it asked hundreds of its users about airline fees. But it also learned what perks fliers would be willing to pay for.
That's where things get interesting. Far be it from me to encourage airlines to come up with more ways to squeeze consumers, but maybe passengers wouldn't feel so ripped off if they were paying for things they actually wanted.
Fly.com's recent survey of 613 respondents between Jan. 5 and 9 found that:
--42% would pay to have their own overhead bin for carry-on items;
--35% would pay to have their checked luggage come out first;
--26% would pay to have an empty middle seat next to them; and
--36% would pay for a fast pass to speed through airport security.
Warren Chang, Fly.com vice president and general manager, said in a statement Friday that airlines need to give consumers what they want -- even when it comes to fees.
"U.S. airlines collected more than $2.5 billion from baggage fees during the first nine months of 2013 alone," Chang said. "While lucrative, it is important that airlines balance profit against the needs and interests of their passengers. Our latest survey reveals the type of ancillary opportunities that can bolster passenger satisfaction, while also delivering new revenue streams to the airline industry."
But it's worth reiterating that 89% of the respondents who participated in the survey wanted airlines to stop charging for checked baggage.
Airfarewatchdog.com recently polled 6,100 travelers about their thoughts on fees and 48% named baggage fees as the most hated, followed by flight change or cancellation fees (38%) and seat selection fees (6%).
And as for getting through airport security faster, fliers who qualify can spend $85 to join the Transportation Security Administration's PreCheck program to do just that.