More Airline Passengers Tolerant Of Baggage Fees, J.D. Power Study Finds

May 16--Grouse all you want about airline baggage fees, but the numbers don't lie: You are slowly learning to accept them as a painful but necessary part of the flying experience.

In fact, the overall satisfaction with air travel has increased to the highest level since 2006, according to the J.D. Power & Associates airline satisfaction study for 2013.

On a 1,000-point scale, satisfaction with airlines reached 695 points, up 14 points from 2012, according to the survey of more than 11,800 airline passengers.

And it seems the fury over bag fees has cooled because the gap in satisfaction between passengers who pay for baggage and those who do not has narrowed over the last three years, according to the survey.

"Charging for bags still has a pronounced negative impact on passenger satisfaction, but with each year, passengers are increasingly more accepting of carriers unbundling baggage and other fees," said Ramez Faza, a senior manager at J.D. Power & Associates.

Barbara Snowberger, a retired claims adjuster from Hollywood, is not one of those passengers who accepts baggage fees. She still vents about the charges, calling them frustrating and unfair.

"I will drive 1,000 miles one-way, if necessary, to avoid the hassle of the TSA and luggage charges," she said, referring to the Transportation Security Administration. "Flying used to be a joy, and now it's just a tremendous hassle and costs far more than it should."

Most of the nation's major airlines began to charge baggage fees in 2008 in response to a surge in the cost of fuel, which has become the industry's biggest expense, accounting for 25% to 30% of all operating costs.

Copyright 2013 - Los Angeles Times

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