This article is reprinted by permission from NerdWallet. Prices seem to be rising everywhere you look. From a dozen eggs to a gallon of gas, common products are more expensive now than they used to be. Even so, over the last decade until this year, airline prices were a notable exception to rising costs. According to data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, domestic airfare from October-December 2011 averaged $368; for the same period in 2021, it was down to $327.
That sounds like great news. However, there’s a caveat: The BTS data only includes the “price paid at the time of the ticket purchase,” excluding “other fees, such as baggage fees, paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft.” And extra fees charged by airlines have increased steadily over the past decade. So airfare alone doesn’t capture the entire price of flying. And now, flight prices are going up. Analyzing real-time airfares, travel data firm Hopper found that domestic airfares so far for the summer of 2022 are 34% higher than they were in the summer of 2019. In short: This is going to be an expensive season to fly, as rising base airfare costs combine with hidden inflation through airline fees.Extra fees: The hidden inflation in airline prices In 2007, most airlines still included a free checked bag in your airfare. That year, baggage fees accounted for a modest $464 million in revenue for U.S. airlines, according to the BTS. Then, everything started to change in 2008. Blaming high fuel costs, American Airlines
was the first to implement a fee for a first checked bag. The cost was just $15 each way. Other airlines matched, and incremental bag fee increases have driven the price to today’s much higher rates. Several low-cost airlines like Spirit
and Frontier have even upped the cost further by charging travelers to carry on a bag that must go i …