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.)

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Mediacom Communications. The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at

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)