June 17, 2014

Americans Hate Airline Fees & Feel They Are Being "Nickel-and-Dimed", Says FindLaw.com Survey

84 percent oppose fees, but many travelers don’t want to pay higher ticket prices either

EAGAN, Minn. – Americans overwhelmingly dislike airline fees, but at the same time, don’t  necessarily want to pay higher ticket prices in return for eliminating fees. Those are among the findings of a new national survey by FindLaw.com, the most popular legal information website.

Summer travel season is now in high gear, and Americans are filling planes taking them to vacation destinations near and far. As they fly, they are encountering dozens of fees from the airlines in addition to the basic ticket price. Some fees are for services that were previously included in the ticket price, such as checked luggage and meals. Other fees are for additional amenities, such as extra legroom and priority boarding.  

An overwhelming 84 percent of Americans say they don’t like airline fees and support the statement that “airlines are nickel-and-diming passengers,” according to the FindLaw.com survey. Only thirteen percent said that they like airline fees, because it allows them to only pay for the services and amenities that they use.

But while people strongly dislike airline fees, when asked whether they would rather see higher ticket prices in return for eliminating some fees, people were more split. Only 53 percent say they would be willing to pay higher airfares with no fees. Nearly as many people – 47 percent – said they would prefer to pay lower airfares with basic service and then pay fees for additional services.

Airlines defend the use of fees. American Airlines president Scott Kirby recently told an industry conference that many other types of businesses charge for extra services, but airlines are unfairly singled out for the practice.

“Airline tickets are essentially a contract between the traveler and the airline,” said Stephanie Rahlfs, an attorney-editor at FindLaw.com. “They involve a number of rules and consumer rights.  Various federal regulations, for instance, cover how airlines have to disclose additional fees to consumers during the reservation booking process. In addition, the specific terms of the ticket, as well as government regulations, cover things such as how disputes are to be handled, compensation for travelers for cancelled flights, delays, lost baggage and other incidents. It’s important for travelers to know what their rights are, what they are entitled to, and what redress is available if problems should arise.”

Free information on travel, including airline rules, security screening, travel scams and dispute resolution can be found at FindLaw.com’s Travel Rules & Rights Center (http://consumer.findlaw.com/travel-rules-and-rights.html)

The FindLaw.com survey was conducted using a demographically balanced survey of 1000 American adults and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percent.

Note to editors: Full survey results and analysis are available upon request.


FindLaw, part of Thomson Reuters, is a leading provider of business development solutions for small law firms. Through its team of legal marketing experts, FindLaw drives the industry by delivering a comprehensive portfolio of proven online and offline marketing solutions designed to connect law firms with targeted prospective clients. FindLaw is also home to the largest online directory of lawyers and FindLaw.com (www.FindLaw.com), the most popular legal website with more than six million people visiting each month for free information about a legal topic, to solve a legal problem or to find a lawyer.

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