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Travelers Hate Airline Fees, Southwest Benefits

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Nearly 80% of US consumers say the extra fees most airlines now impose on travelers for once-free amenities are unacceptable and should not be passed along to travelers, according to research from comScore, writes MarketingCharts.

Though consumers understand the economic plight of commercial airlines, they overwhelmingly disagree that they should have to pay extra for items such as checking luggage, beverages, pillows and blankets or aisle and window seats.

The study – which measured consumer attitudes toward airline fees, as well as online ticket sales at US sites of major airlines – also found that Southwest Airlines sells nearly 2.5 times the dollar volume of online tickets as its nearest competitor.

Some 80% of respondents believe the rising cost of fuel is the reason for increases in airfares, but less than 40% feel that current pricing is fair. An even greater percentage of consumers oppose the additional fees policies, with only 7% of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing that fees imposed after purchasing a ticket are acceptable.

Airline consumers indicated they were least likely to pay for a pillow or blanket (82%) said they are somewhat unlikely or not at all likely to pay for the amenity), the ability to book by phone (80%), a window seat (79%) or an aisle seat (77%).

They would be most likely to pay for oversized bags (24% said they were somewhat or extremely likely to pay), internet access (20%), or a second checked bag (18%).

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