You’ve saved up all year for the holiday of a lifetime and you are finally getting around to booking your flight but when you get to the end you notice that there are hidden extras like taxes, luggage fees, and insurance. Suddenly half of your spending money has gone. Many people don’t think about those hidden airlines fees that are taking away from their travel budgets, so here are ways to work around them and save money.
Fees You’ll Be Charged on Your Next Flight
Seat selection fee: This fee is becoming increasingly popular on major airline economy flights. The fee can be anywhere between $5 and $80 depending on the company. If you don’t pay for your seat in advance, you may be assigned a random seat at the check-in at no cost, or you may have to look for a seat when you board. Although you can avoid the extra charge by allowing the system to book you a random seat, if you are traveling with your family, it is unlikely that you will be seated together.
Carry-on baggage fee: Cramming all your gear into your carry-on bag might seem like a good way to avoid a paying a fee for a checked bag. But you’ll have to make sure that your bag is no bigger than the dimensions allowed by the airline for checked baggage, and that it will fit into the overhead locker. Unless you’re a basic economy flyer, some airlines, such as United and American will let you bring aboard one personal item, such as a handbag or briefcase, and one bag. But not all airlines have this policy so you need to check up before you book your flight. Some airlines, such as Frontier and Allegiant, charge up to $25 for a carry-on bag.
Change and cancellation fees: You will not be subject to cancellation or change fees providing you change or cancel your flight within 24 hours of purchasing your ticket if you bought your ticket at least seven days before the flight it due to depart. You may be able to waive a cancellation or change fee under special circumstances such as the death of a family member or if you or one of your travel parties have jury duty. Some major airlines like Delta and United charge $200 to change a domestic flight, so if you think your plans might change, you might be better off getting a one-way ticket. Check out this link for more tips on avoiding airline cancellation and change fees.
Standby fee: Some years ago if you had a ticket for a particular airline and needed an earlier flight, you could arrive early at the airport, add your name to a standby list and it wouldn’t cost you any extra. If a seat became available on that flight you could take it. These days you can still fly standby but you have to pay a service fee. Airlines like Delta and American will charge you $75 up front to add your name to a standby list then your credit card will be charged if you get a seat.
Direct ticketing fee: This fee is charged by the airline when you book a flight on the phone or at a ticket counter. The fee can be anywhere between $15 and $40 depending on the airline you are flying with. To avoid this fee book online.
Using frequent flyer miles: Although this may seem like you’re getting a free flight, many airlines will charge you a fee to use your air miles, you may also be charged airport fees and fuel charges.
Overweight Baggage: If you are checking luggage, you can save yourself $50 or more per bag just by making sure your cases weight under 50lbs each. The day before your flight, weigh yourself on your household scale then grab your bag and get back on the scale the difference in weight should be less than 50lbs.
Find coupons to save on Wi-Fi: Most airlines now charge for the use of Wi-Fi during your flight. Fees can range anywhere from $5-$50 depending on how long you wish to use it for. If you plan in advance, you can get around these fees. One way you can reduce your fees is to change the user agent on your laptop’s browser so you can use it as a mobile phone. This way you can pay the lower mobile fee.
Cut as many of the hidden fees as you can by using these tips. Have a safe and pleasant flight!
Imogen Pearce is a budget traveler who is on a quest to visit every European city this year. In her free moments she writes travel articles sharing tips and tricks for packing, saving money and more.