How to evade the ‘Electronic Carrier Charge’ (and other nonsensical travel fees)
As a frequent traveler, you may have noticed that airlines and other travel companies have a knack for adding on extra fees and charges that seem to make no sense. One of the most frustrating of these is the Electronic Carrier Charge, which can add a significant amount to the cost of your ticket. In this article, we’ll explore what the Electronic Carrier Charge is, why it exists, and most importantly, how to avoid it (and other nonsensical travel fees).
What is the Electronic Carrier Charge?
The Electronic Carrier Charge (ECC) is a fee that airlines charge for the use of their electronic ticketing system. It’s typically added on to the cost of your ticket and can range from a few dollars to over $20, depending on the airline and the route. The ECC is not a government-imposed fee, but rather a fee that airlines have chosen to impose on their customers.
Why do airlines charge the Electronic Carrier Charge?
Airlines claim that the ECC is necessary to cover the cost of maintaining and upgrading their electronic ticketing systems. They argue that these systems are essential for the efficient operation of their businesses and that the cost of maintaining them should be borne by the customers who use them.
However, critics of the ECC argue that it’s just another way for airlines to squeeze more money out of their customers. They point out that airlines already charge a variety of other fees and charges, including baggage fees, seat selection fees, and fuel surcharges, and that the ECC is just another way for them to pad their bottom line.
How to avoid the Electronic Carrier Charge
Fortunately, there are several ways to avoid the Electronic Carrier Charge (and other nonsensical travel fees). Here are a few tips:
1. Book your ticket directly with the airline
One of the easiest ways to avoid the ECC is to book your ticket directly with the airline. Many online travel agencies and booking sites will add on the ECC (and other fees) as part of their booking process, but if you book directly with the airline, you may be able to avoid these fees altogether.
2. Use a travel rewards credit card
Another way to avoid the ECC (and earn some travel rewards in the process) is to use a travel rewards credit card to book your ticket. Many travel rewards cards offer perks like waived fees and priority boarding, which can help you save money and time on your travels.
3. Look for airlines that don’t charge the Electronic Carrier Charge
Not all airlines charge the ECC, so if you’re looking to avoid this fee, it’s worth doing some research to find airlines that don’t impose it. Some airlines that don’t charge the ECC include Southwest Airlines, JetBlue, and Spirit Airlines.
4. Be flexible with your travel dates and times
Finally, if you’re willing to be flexible with your travel dates and times, you may be able to find tickets that don’t include the ECC (or other fees). Airlines often charge more for peak travel times, so if you can travel during off-peak times, you may be able to save money on your ticket.
Other nonsensical travel fees to watch out for
In addition to the Electronic Carrier Charge, there are several other nonsensical travel fees that you should be aware of. Here are a few to watch out for:
1. Seat selection fees
Many airlines now charge a fee for selecting your seat in advance. While this may seem like a minor fee, it can add up quickly, especially if you’re traveling with a group or on a long-haul flight.
2. Baggage fees
Baggage fees are another common fee that airlines charge. While some airlines still allow you to check a bag for free, many now charge for each checked bag, and the fees can be quite steep.
3. Fuel surcharges
Fuel surcharges are fees that airlines add on to the cost of your ticket to cover the cost of fuel. While these fees may have made sense when fuel prices were high, they can be frustrating for travelers when fuel prices are low.
4. Resort fees
Finally, if you’re planning a stay at a hotel or resort, be aware of resort fees. These fees are often added on to the cost of your room and cover things like pool access, gym access, and Wi-Fi. While these amenities may be nice to have, it’s frustrating to be charged for them when you may not even use them.
In conclusion, while the Electronic Carrier Charge (and other nonsensical travel fees) may be frustrating, there are ways to avoid them. By booking directly with the airline, using a travel rewards credit card, being flexible with your travel dates and times, and being aware of other fees to watch out for, you can save money and make your travels more enjoyable.