Budget Airlines: Cheap Tickets, High Fees : Planet Money At some European airlines, tickets are cheap -- but fees are high.
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Budget Airlines: Cheap Tickets, High Fees

European budget airlines' cheap ticket prices are paying off.

EasyJet and Ryanair announced this week that their passenger numbers increased significantly in June over the past year. Meanwhile, the U.K.'s old-school flagship British Airways saw a sharp decrease in passenger traffic, falling from 2.9 million passengers last June to 2.5 million last month.

Budget carriers make money in part by maintaining strict rules about things like boarding passes and luggage, and charging high fees to passengers who break the rules.

Last week, Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary announced the airline's plans to push the model further, with plans to test coin-operated toilets and standing-room-only tickets.

But the idea of "paying to pee" has already drawn sharp criticism from the U.S. government. Earlier this year, a House committee spokesman told Tnooz, a travel industry news website, that the Congress may hold a hearing on the "pay toilet issue" if U.S. airlines follow the trend.

Toilet fee or no, fees are a key source of revenue for budget airlines like Ryanair.

A few of Ryanair's penalty fees:

€40 for forgetting to print out your boarding pass before you get to airport security or the boarding gate.

€20 for carrying an infant on an adult's lap.

€35 for any oversized baggage (luggage weighing more than 10 kg, about 22 pounds) not declared ahead of time and brought to the boarding gate.

€100 for changing a name on a ticket (including a simple mispelling of one's name)

€55 for changing a flight booked at an aiport; a €35 fee for changing a flight booked online.

€35 for bringing more than one carry-on (this fee applies to items as small as cameras, laptops, handbags and shopping purchases carried separately)

For more: Read how one British columnist tried to beat Ryanair at its fees game.