American Airlines has figured out a new way to squeeze more money out of its passengers. The second-largest airline in the USA is now charging non-premium passengers $50 to stand by for a different flight. But they are not alone — Delta and Continental already are doing it.
According to Travel Babel, United does not charge for stand-by, but does charge up to $75 extra to book a specific seat — like maybe the one next to your three-year-old. British Airways charges $35 to book a seat on-line at the same time you book your ticket, according to a friend of mine who just complained to me about exactly that. She decided to wait until she gets to the airport, where she be ticketed into a seat for free.
American Airlines told the Associated Press the new stand-by fee is “to streamline the departure process at the gate.” But the real effect is to add just one more hidden charge to the cost of an economy airine ticket, and make it that much more difficult to comparison shop for the best airfares.