Laralee went to Idaho for the past week to visit her mom. After she bought a ticket through Travelocity (our go-to source for airline tickets), she was surprised to learn at check-in time that she had to pay $25 for her carry-on bag. I know all of the airlines charge for checked bags these days– a jerk move, in my opinion– but I had never heard of carry-on bag fees.

After a bit of research we learned that it wasn’t something we could change. Apparently if we’d bought the ticket through the Frontier site instead of Travelocity, they would have generously waived the fee. But who knew? And why should it matter anyway, since they’re still getting their ticket fare?

Anyway, we coughed up the $25– grumbling the whole time– and she went to Idaho. Now she’s coming back to Denver, and she’s at the airport with a bag to check (something she’s bringing home from mom’s house). She learned that it costs $25 to check the bag at the airport, but if she checks in online it’s only $20. Huh?

So, fine, she called me so I could hop online and pay the stupid fee. I went through the online check-in process but didn’t see a place where I could choose the checked bag and pay for it. I was, however, warned that if I didn’t pay for a carry-on that I would be subject to some penalty if I tried to board the plane with a bag. Nice. I went through the check-in process and wasn’t able to choose a checked bag at all. Now she has to pay the extra five bucks because she’s doing it at the airport.

Yeah, yeah, it’s just five bucks. But I’m more upset about the principle of the thing. This is ridiculous. When I look online for flights, I don’t see the actual price I’ll be paying: now I have to do mental gymnastics to figure out whether it’ll be $50 or $100 more than my ticket price, just to bring a bag with me. It’s not like a lot of people travel with no bags at all. This is just another price-gouging money-making scheme by the airlines.

After this frustrating experience, I decided to look at Frontier’s site to figure out their crazy new fees. They have a page that lists all of the “optional service” fees, including anything to do with bags. There are fees for checked bags, which is pretty much standard now, but in the carry-on fees section it says it should be free. Apparently they don’t even have the right information on their own web site.

Further poking around on the internet found the a “worldwide baggage fee chart” which compares fees on all airlines. It looks like Frontier is the only one who charges for carry-on bags. Nice move, guys.

I used to prefer Frontier to other airlines (especially United!) because they tended to be less expensive, and the trips just seemed nicer. Well, as “nice” as the horror of air travel can be these days.

Frontier, with this latest stunt you just lost my business. I’m not interested in paying $50 for a silly little carry-on bag.