I’d like to think I’m pretty in the know when it comes to airline fees, but yesterday I encountered one I had no clue about. Before I rant, I should say that I’m not really against airline fees, and I don’t just say that because I’m an elite that is exempt from most of them. In this environment I don’t see an issue with “unbundling.” But then there are some things that are just downright silly.
Yesterday night, for example, I wanted to upgrade a friend’s domestic American Airlines itinerary. Admittedly not the best use of miles, but my AAdvantage account is looking more like an “orphan” account right about now, so I figured I’d do something nice.
I give American a call to upgrade my friend, and I’m informed there’s a $75 co-pay (which is ridiculous enough, but I was expecting that), but that there’s also a $50 expedite fee, so the co-pay is $125. I was friggin’ shocked. I’m familiar with the fee for booking awards within 21 days of departure, which I can kind of understand. Tickets booked closer to departure tend to be more expensive, so charging a slight premium is somewhat reasonable. But my friend’s reservation was made a long time ago, and I decided to upgrade now.
Can anyone explain to me how the hell that fee makes sense? If anything, they should charge a fee for locking in an upgrade further in advance, because there’s a chance that person might eventually be displacing a paid premium passenger. How the hell is there an “expedite” fee for requesting an upgrade a week out? It makes no sense to me, especially since anyone upgrading with “stickers” only clears a few days out. What’s next, an “expedite fee” when using stickers to upgrade a few days before a flight?
Absolute bull, if you ask me. But more than anything else I was shocked by the fee. I just didn’t know it existed… and it really ticks me off.