New NerdWallet tool searches, compares fees among U.S. airlines

Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger

It’s easier to shop for airfares now that airlines and online travel companies are required to include taxes, nonoptional fees and fuel charges in posted ticket prices. But what’s the best way to factor in fees such as checked bags, carry-on bags, second checked bags, seat assignments, change fees and others?

Enter NerdWallet. The online personal finance site best known for its credit card comparisons launched a new tool Wednesday that helps travelers find and compare airline fees on U.S. carriers.

I previewed the tool before it went live and searched for fees by airline in several categories: baggage, ticket booking and change, seating selection and boarding, unaccompanied minor, pets and other. The better use of this tool is to create comparisons by selecting options -- such as a single checked bag or seat selection -- and see how the airline fees stack up. (Allegiant Air and Spirit Airlines are among the few carriers that charge for carry-on, as NerdWallet’s tool shows.)

Airlines generate plenty of money by charging passengers those pesky fees. U.S. carriers last year brought in more than $2.5 billion in baggage fees alone, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

And you can bet these fees won’t be going away anytime soon.