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Special Report: Packing on new travel fees

Traveling during the holidays can be a pricy proposition, and we mean more than the standard stuff, like a night in a hotel, or the price of your airline fare.
Traveling during the holidays can be a pricy proposition, and we mean more than the standard stuff, like a night in a hotel, or the price of your airline fare.

We're talking about all the brand new extra fees being added on to each trip, hotel stay or car rental.

Kim-Marie Evans is always traveling and is shocked by the newest add on expenses that she discovered on her latest adventure.

"It's not even nickel and dimed. It's being twenty dollar'd to death. It's for everything."

From a $5 printing fee for boarding passes to a $3 bottle of water, to blankets for $6.99. She's seen all kinds of charges.

"It seems to be a never ending slippery slope," she says.

And not just on airlines.

Other examples: a nearly $4 fee for a 30 minute children’s TV show in your room at a major hotel chain and a s$7.49 daily surcharge some rental car companies are charging for a toll pass transponder, whether you use the gadget or not.

"It always amazes me at how creative these airline companies, car rental companies, hotels can be when it comes to fees," says Kim Orlando with TravelingMom.com.

But the travel companies stress they have extra expenses, too, including higher fuel and food costs.

Airlines for America, a group representing the airline industry, tells us they're just following the lead of other industries that separate out fees. For example…

"Baseball parks, we don't go and expect a hot dog and a coke for free,” John P. Heimlich with Airlines for America says. “We pay more for better seating."

So, the argument is that unbundling, or breaking down the extras into options you can pick and choose, is actually intended to save you money.

Heimlich says, "These are optional services. Not everyone has or wants to check a bag. Not everyone wants to buy a meal, rent a DVD, buy a coca cola, so the airlines are under the pressure to offer the lowest fare possible to those who just wanted that."

Kim-Marie makes adjustments, like only packing carry-ons, no checked bags. But she hates thinking of what could be next.

"I'm really waiting for there to be a coin slot in the bathroom on the airplane."

Meantime, Airlines for America points out customers do have the final say on fees.

"The marketplace will sort it out and ones that customers simply think are unacceptable will quickly be rescinded."

And that law of supply and demand also applies to hotels, rental cars and other transportation companies adding extra fees.
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