Lately, travel headlines practically shout: It’s a fee frenzy! A fee-for-all! Travellers are fighting mad about fees!
But are all
fees bad? Not necessarily. Many of these so-called “new fees” can be viewed as charges
for new products, like in-flight wi-fi, that travellers could never “buy”
before. And for many business travellers, it’s worth the cost to pay for
something that improves comfort or productivity while in the air.
Do you want
to buy your way to a better trip? Here are five ways to do that:
Better economy seats
Being able to reserve the “best” seats in the economy section — exit rows,
bulkheads and those away from the lavatories — used to be impossible unless you
booked your trip months ahead of time, or you were an elite member of airline’s
frequent flyer program. Now, business travellers can pay a slight premium
(typically based on the length of the flight) to ensure that they have a little
extra room to work or relax on the plane.
The ability to connect to the internet from the stratosphere has revolutionized
the in-flight experience for business travellers, especially on long haul
flights. The enhanced productivity, as well as the entertainment value passengers
get from in-flight wi-fi is well worth the cost, which runs from $6 to $14 per
flight in the US.
Some airlines now offer economy passengers the option of paying a small fee to
board the plane early. This is especially helpful to business travellers on
very full flights because early boarding ensures space in the overhead bins for
carry-on bags and eliminates the chance of having to check bags at the gate.
Ever since some airlines began charging for food on short-haul flights, quality
and choices have improved, and there’s a lot less waste. At the same time, the food
available for purchase at airports has improved, allowing passengers to bring
aboard snacks they really like, instead of having to put up with mediocre aeroplane
Airport club passes
Airline airport clubs used to be reserved only for those who could afford the
$400 to $500 annual membership fees. However, now that many airlines offer day
passes for around $50, even an occasional business traveller can find respite
and relaxation from the hectic airport experience.
Chris McGinnis is the
business travel columnist for BBC Travel