So who really socks it to ya with fees? Airline and hotel complaints, compared

The following exercise is highly unscientific, journalistically questionable, yet somewhat entertaining. In trying to determine which industry is socking to travelers with fees in the worst possible way, it’s down to two contenders: airlines and hotels.

(Yes, car rental companies have a place in this discussion. As do cruise lines. But I’ll get to them soon enough.)

So I decided to query my “in” box, which contains all of the complaints I receive. And here’s where it gets a little unscientific — my email also contains all of my other correspondence, which includes my interviews of experts and sources on the topic.

I’ll let that slide.

Anyway, the results are pretty revealing.

Here are the number of emails with “hotel fee” in them. Bear in mind that it’s just September. We still have four months to go in 2010.

And airline fees?

Here’s a side-by-side comparison:

As you can see, airline fees are the clear winner. I mean, loser.

Food for thought.

(Photo: the wamphyr i/Flickr Creative Commons)

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at Read more of Christopher's articles here.

Get smart. Sign up for the newsletter.