Fee to carry a pet with you on a plane

Emily and I are heading back to NC this year from December 22nd to January 1st. Since most of our friends will also be traveling, and 9 days is a long time to impose on someone anyway, we’ll be bringing Toro with us on our flights between California and North Carolina. He’s a 5lb 5 year old chihuahua who’s super cute and rarely barks. The fee for this varies by airline, but it used to be around $50.

But now it seems airlines have increased this fee:

American Airlines $100
Continental $125
Delta $150
JetBlue $100
Northwest $150
Southwest Does not allow pets
United $175
US Airways $100
Virgin America $50

I think these fees are ridiculous (except for Virgin, which is reasonable). I can think of only two costs incurred by the airline: 1. takes a few seconds longer to go through security and 2. if the pet pees on the plane it could be annoying to clean up, but the airline should just charge people when that happens (and $100 is a disproportionate amount to cover this cost anyway).

I think I’m going to ask airlines what their rationale is for charging that much… I suspect it’s “because we can.”

Edit: My updated version. Also see this.

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