2017 Travel Trends – Ancillary Fee Alert!

Travel occupancy will skyrocket this summer, so if you’re in the majority of Americans that will soon travel by plane, you need to listen up. Airlines for America (A4A) has predicted that U.S. carriers will fly 234.1 million passengers this summer, a 4% increase that would set a new precedent for global air travel on U.S. airlines. That means millions of passengers may get surprised by fees they’ve never had to worry about paying in these extremes – ancillary fees.

These, says GBTA, are the 10 worst ancillary fees for corporations and travel managers:

  1. Airline fees for soft drinks
  2. Airline fees for headsets
  3. Airline fees for movies and videos
  4. Airline fees for food
  5. Car rental fees for tolls
  6. Hotel fees for Internet use
  7. Hotel fees for parking
  8. Car rental fees for late returns
  9. Car rental fees for one-way rental dropoffs
  10. Car rental fees for gas


According to Macnair Travel, “While seemingly small, ancillary fees imposed by airlines, hotels, rental car agencies, and other travel vendors can quickly add up. It’s critical that your procurement specialists or travel management company (TMC) thoroughly vet potential fees buried within travel contracts, and that your employees follow policy when deciding what to purchase and what not to purchase while on the road.”

Airline fees have almost quadrupled since 2008, according to Travel Weekly. These numbers don’t even count an overlooked loss – airline programs have cut corners, and customers feel less validated for their sudden upsurge in travel costs. Gone are the days when you can take ANY airline pleasantries for granted: You might get charged for things that you found standard before…like choosing your own seat. You read that right. 

Lower-cost carriers continue to grow, which prompts bigger spending in other areas to keep up. This year will show off lower ticket prices at the cost of paying much steeper fees. It’s sad that the smaller seats and economy-grade amenities accomplish little more than offsetting ancillary costs and additional travel fees.

And hotels? Watch for the phrase “other charges may apply” on that booking screen. Hotels haven’t caught on at the same speed as airlines, but we can’t ignore their ancillary fees, most notoriously Wi-Fi, quite yet. Did you know that nearly 10% of hotels still charged for Wi-Fi in 2016? Other hotel ancillary fees include resort fees, hidden food charges, and pool and gym fees. Note that most, but not all, of these upcharges are associated with higher-end hotels.

You do have options in getting these fees waived, especially on the hotel side. Loyalty programs, negotiations, and well-planned travel management all help circumvent these costly and annoying fees. At CLS, we have an expert team of negotiators dedicated to slashing your hotel costs like crazy. Our clients are not required to pay for all those ridiculous surcharges that steadily eat away at your travel budget.

Don’t just take it from us! One of our clients had this to say about our services: “I never knew that Creative Lodging would take the time to attend to [our company’s] little extra costs until I got our savings packet in September. We were all impressed with the service and attention-to-detail that will save us so much travel money down the road. Thank you so much, CLS!”

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