Hidden fees charged by hotels and airlines are bad for customers and the economy

By The Economist online

BARACK OBAMA’S outgoing administration has been busy lately, normalising relations between America and Cuba, and commuting the sentences of hundreds of prisoners. It has also, more quietly, taken aim at another target: the travel industry and the hidden fees it charges.

The move won’t appear in history books, but it will resonate with travellers irked by the growing difference between the published costs of flights and hotels and the amount they actually have to pay. In its final report, the Obama administration’s National Economic Council (NEC) documents the sharp rise in these sneaky charges in recent years and the consequences for the American economy.

According to the report, “resort fees”—a charge on top of the published room rate, that is automatically added to the bill of every guest at many hotels—cost travellers over $2bn in 2015, a steep increase from $1.5bn in 2014. They now account for 17% of American hotels’ revenue. (The sharp practice is mostly…

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Category: Business and finance, Gulliver

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