Airlines With The Most Hidden Fees

Airlines With The Most Hidden Fees

Airline fees – every traveler's nightmare. Getting hit with extra charges when you check a bag, finding out you have to pay to print your boarding pass and the shock of realization, when the airline tells you that you have to pay extra to travel with your sporting equipment.

*Related: 6 Stress-Free Travel Tips

Pillows and blankets, online booking fees, credit card transaction fees, rebooking a flight, and in-flight snacks are just some of the many hidden fees airlines rarely tell you about.

Now this is not to say all airlines are trying to dig in your pockets. Yes, they have hidden fees, but they also make up for them in their own way.

With the help of airline specific websites and other sites including money crashers and airfarewatchdog, I have compiled a list, in no specific order, of the airlines with the most hidden fees.

Allegiant Air

Allegiant Air is an American low-cost airline that operates charter and scheduled flights. They may have low-cost tickets, but they look to make up for them with their hidden fees.

  • Charge for checked baggage- Between $20-$50

  • Charge for carry-on baggage- Between $14-$45

  • Overweight baggage- Over 40 and under 70 pounds – $50, between 71 and 100 pounds – $75

  • Oversized personal items/oversized and excess carry-on baggage- up to $75

  • Priority access- $4-$12

  • Cancellations- You will receive a full refund if you cancel within 24 hours of initial booking, unless you booked within one week of your flights departure. The charge is $75.

  • Onboard snacks- $2-$7

  • Traveling with pets- $100

  • Print your boarding pass- $5

Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines is another low-cost airline in America.  Booking is said to be easy; their staff is friendly and they even have deluxe leather seating. However, they claim to "take customers to their destination without any extras." Unfortunately, they seem to have quite a few extra charges you should know about.

  • Charge for carry-on bags – $25 to $30 if you are a member of the Fare Club, $35 to $40 for non-members if checked in online and $50-$100 if checked in at the gate.

  • Charge for first checked bag- $25 for Fare Club member and $30 to $35 for non-members during online checkout and $100 if checked at the gate.

  • Charge for second checked bag- $30 to $35 for Fare Club members, $40 to $45 for non-members

  • Overweight/Oversize bag- $25 for over 41 pounds and $50 for over 51 pounds

  • Extra leg room- $12 to $199

  • Traveling with pets- $100

American Airlines

American Airlines is an American airline that is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. They are known as the world's largest airline by size, fleet and revenue. Well, other than the point that their high revenue is due to the fact that it is a popular airline, they also have a variety of hidden fees that contribute.

  • Charge for first checked bag- $25

  • Charge for second checked bag- $35

  • Charge for third checked bag- $150

  • Overweight baggage- $100 for baggage weighing more than 51 pounds, $200 for baggage weighing over 71 pounds

  • Oversize baggage- Between $150-$200

  • Sports equipment- fees apply

  • Traveling with pets- $125

  • Priority seating- $9-$45

  • Same day flight change- $75-$15 (unless you qualify for other exceptions)

  • Unaccompanied minor- $150 + tax

  • In-flight food- $2-$10

  • In-flight alcoholic beverages- Between $7-$15.99

  • Earbuds- $5

  • In-seat entertainment- up to $8

  • Wireless entertainment- up to $7

Alaska Airlines

According to, "Alaska Airlines is the seventh-largest U.S. airline based on passenger traffic and is one of the most popular U.S. West Coast air carriers." One of the reasons why they are so popular is due to their low fares. However, like the airlines previously mentioned, it looks as if they make up for their low fares in their hidden fees.

  • Charge for first checked bag- $25

  • Charge for second checked bag- $25

  • Overweight/Oversize bag- $75 for baggage weighing more than 51 pounds

  • Food- $6 to $8 for meals and snacks

  • Traveling with pets- $100 per pet

  • Preferred Plus seats-$15-$50

  • Call center ticketing fee- $15

  • Paper itinerary mailing fee- $5

  • In-flight alcoholic beverages- $6-$7

  • In-flight Wi-Fi- $1.95-$39.95 based on length of flight

  • In-flight entertainment- $8-$10

  • Left on board item return fee- $20

United Airlines

United Airlines is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. It operates a comprehensive domestic and international route network out of Houston, Newark, Denver, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington D.C., Guam, Los Angeles and Tokyo. That being said, they are known for their large amount of passengers, which contribute to their large amount of fees.

  • First checked bag- $25

  • Second checked bag- $35

  • Additional bags- $100 each, up to $200 on some international routes

  • Overweight/Oversize- $100 for baggage weighing more than 51 pounds

  • Traveling with pets- $125

  • Non-refundable ticked change fee- $200

Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines is Hawaii's largest and longest-serving airline. It carries over 10 million guests per year. Here are some of their hidden airline fees.

  • On-board snacks- $6 to $12 in North America

  • Choose your seat- $60 to $100 for preferred seats

  • Traveling with pets as luggage- $175 in North America

  • Lost paper ticket- $100 in North America and International

  • In-flight entertainment- $6-$15 in North America

  • Reservation phone ticketing fee- $25

  • Change your ticket fee- $30 + fare difference for Neighbor Island, $200 + fare difference for North America and $50-$300 + fare difference for International.

Virgin America

Virgin America is a U.S. based airline. It is said to provide low-fares and high quality service. If you are planning to take a trip with Virgin America, educate yourself on a few of their hidden fees so you don't run into any surprises.

  • Traveling with pets- $100

  • Change of reservation- $100- $150

  • Unaccompanied minors- $75 to $125 based on the flight

  • Mailed itinerary- $20

  • Priority seating and boarding- $20

Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines serves approximately 160 million customers every year. According to the SKYTEAM, "during the past year, Delta was named domestic "Airline of the Year" by the readers of Travel Weekly magazine and the "Top Tech-Friendly U.S. Airline" by PCWorld magazine for its innovation in technology, and won the Business Travel News Annual Airline Survey." There is no denying Delta Airlines are great; however, they do have quite a few surprising fees you should be aware of.

  • Charge for first checked bag- $25

  • Charge for second checked bag- approximately $35

  • Additional bags- $125 for the 3rd and $200 for bags 4-10

  • Change Fees- "Based on the fare rules, you may have to pay a service fee and/or a difference in fare. For travel within the 50 United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the fee is $200 for Delta-marketed flights," according to DELTA.

  • Other fees include- Travel Facilities Tax, U.S. Customs User Fee, Passenger Facility Charge and Carrier-Imposed Surcharges.

Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines is known for their cheap tickets, and costly expenses. One reviewer on airfarewatchdog said, "I STRONGLY recommend that you only use Frontier Air as a last resort for your travel. They have recently changed the way they do business and their new business plan is to hit you for a fee at every chance." Here are a few of Frontier Airlines hidden fees.

  • Overweight baggage- $75

  • First checked bag- $30-$40, at departure gate $60

  • Unaccompanied minor fee- Non-stop flights $100 per child per direction

  • Reservations made through the call center- $10 booking fee

  • Itinerary change fee- $99 but can be waived if you purchased "The Works."

  • Name change fee- $75

  • Change seat assignment- Call center $8, Web Check-In $11, Airport ticket counter/self-service kiosk $11

  • One way pet cabin fee- $75

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines doesn't charge any fees for your first and second carry-on bag, and your first and second checked bag. However, they make up for the low-cost in other areas.

  • Cost for third checked bag- $75 per bag

  • Cost for large media camera equipment- $75 per item

  • Overweight checked bag- $75 per bag weighing over 50 pounds up to 100 pounds

  • Oversized checked bag- $75

  • Sporting equipment- $75 per bag

  • EarlyBird check in- $15 one-way per customer

  • Unaccompanied Minor- $50 (ages 5-11)

  • Traveling with pets (one-way)- $95

  • Wifi during flight- $8

  • Movies during flight- $5

  • Alcoholic beverages during flight (liquor, beer, wine)- $5

JetBlue Airways

JetBlue Airways is known as the fifth largest airline in the United States. They are headquartered in Long Island City and their main base is at the John F. Kennedy International Airport. Travelers love flying with JetBlue because of their "award winning service." But before you catch your flight, take some time to review their hidden fees – you may need to bring a few extra dollars with you.

  • Second checked bag- $35

  • 3 or more checked bags- $100

  • Overweight baggage- $100

  • Oversized baggage- $100

  • Sporting equipment- ranges from $50-$80

  • Traveling with pets- $100 each way

  • Unaccompanied minors- $100 per person, each way

  • Change/Cancel fee- $75 for fares under $100 and $100 for fares $150 and above

  • Inflight headsets- $5

  • Inflight movies- $5

  • Blanket and Pillow- $5-$6

  • Alcoholic Beverages- $7

  • Meal boxes- $6-$7