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How airlines make their money

One of the people on our tag-along tour had his partner cancel a month or two before the tour started - so he found a friend who was willing to come with him and rang his travel agency to make the name change for his airline tickets and hotel reservation (on our tag-along tours, you pay for your own flights and accommodation). He was amazed and shocked - changing the name for the flights and accommodation cost him an extra $500. We're talking a few keystrokes - but then I was reading 50 amazing facts on the mental floss blog and fact 31 caught my eye:

31. In 2009, U.S. airlines collected $2.7 billion in baggage fees. Another $2.4 billion came from reservation change fees.

Imagine if a restaurant charged you to make changes to your reservation - by the airline or hotel standards, we'd be justified in doing so, after all, we collect the same sort of data as these other industries.

Just wanted to get that off my chest and I hope Saul feels better that I've given his complaint against the airlines some internet space.