Airline fees got you 'mad as hell'? Join the club...

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The Independent Travel

Travel businesses and travelers rights groups have launched a petition that will be presented to US transport authorities, opening a straight-talking new front in the war against extra airline fees.

The Consumer Travel Alliance, Business Travel Coalition and American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) have launched a new website to channel efforts against airline fees in the US, at http://MadAsHellAboutHiddenFees.com.

On the site, the groups are encouraging travelers to tell their own hidden fee stories, create YouTube videos and sign a petition which will be delivered to the US Department of Transportation on September 23.

Ahead of the site's launch, the groups conducted a survey of 1,396 travelers in August that suggested 66 percent have been surprised at the airport by unexpected fees, with 99 percent saying that they believe that airlines should be required to disclose all of their fees in advance on every website that sells airline tickets.

"Hidden fees are a violation of a traveler's most basic right: to know how much they will have to pay for their trip," said Charlie Leocha, president of the Consumer Travel Alliance.

"When two out of every three air travelers say they have been surprised by hidden fees at the airport, you know the current system is broken and needs to be fixed. Airlines should have to share their fees with every traveler, through every ticketing channel in which they participate, to every point of sale."

This year has seen a spate of new fees from cash-strapped airlines looking to squeeze more pennies out of passengers, particularly in the US.

In April, Spirit Airlines announced that it would charge passengers up to $45/€35 for hand luggage on a flight, prompting condemnation from US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

More recently, American Airlines announced that it would charge for front-row seats on board its aircraft.

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