American Readies Piecemeal Pricing

'Unbundling' divides trip cost with fees for food, extras
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 6, 2008 12:18 PM CDT
AA's "unbundling" plan will divide airfare into the cost of the trip plus other fees.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – American Airlines is about to accelerate the trend of breaking the cost of a trip into an airfare plus many smaller fees. Starting next year, American plans to imitate the a la carte pricing structure pioneered by Air Canada, airline officials say. There are likely to be a few basic fare plans, and travelers can pick additional services—for a fee.

Fans of "unbundling," as it's called, say it gives travelers lower base fares with the option of paying for extras they really want, from beverages to blankets. Some travelers are wary, however, and suspect the airlines are just trying to chisel them a few bucks at a time.