GBTA Study: Top 10 Most Troublesome Travel Fees

Ancillary travel fees — fees charged above and beyond base rates for "extras" such as checked baggage, hotel Wi-Fi and rental car fuel — have made business travel not only more expensive, but also more confusing. To help business travelers de-code these add-on expenses, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Foundation has produced a report that summarizes and ranks various types of ancillary travel fees.

"This study is a tool to demystify ancillary fees and provide travel professionals with information they need to manage this growing slice of business travel spending," said GBTA Foundation Senior Director of Research Joseph Bates.

Titled "2012 Ancillary Fee Handbook: Who Charges What, When & Where," the report categorizes virtually all the ancillary fees that business travelers can incur through airlines, hotels and car rental companies. What's more, it also provides a rating system that evaluates each fee based on how common it is, how transparent it is and how easy it is to track once it's been incurred.

Based on the report's rankings, GBTA Foundation researchers identified the following top 10 most troublesome ancillary travel fees, which are those that are least predictable, can't be paid in advance and are difficult to track individually:

1. Airline fees for soft drinks
2. Airline fees for headset use
3. Airline fees for movies and videos
4. Airline fees for food
5. Car rental fees for toll passage
6. Hotel fees for Internet use
7. Hotel fees for parking
8. Car rental fees for late returns
9. Car rental fees for drop-off of a one-way rental
10. Car rental fees for fuel charge

"Last summer, our research found that only 21 percent of travel managers are tracking ancillary fees while those fees account for over 8 percent of total travel spend," Bates said. "Our research shows that ancillary fees have a significant impact on travel budgets and policies. With better insight into how these fees work, travel managers can make more informed choices."