Monday, December 7, 2009
Avoiding Airline Fees
By Leah Gorham
Air travel has become more and more inconvenient in recent years as lines become longer, delays become more prevalent, and fees become more widespread. However, by identifying some of the fees that airlines want to keep hidden from consumers, we can avoid paying surcharges that can ruin your travel budget.
Airline fees include fees for checked baggage, beverages, seating with leg room, increased fees for unaccompanied minors, and fees for award tickets. But there are ways to cap the cost of your flight at its ticket price with a little careful planning. For instance, the most common-sense solution for avoiding checked baggage fees is to carry-on instead. That will save you $15-$25 per bag depending on the airline. By packing light and carrying on, your ticket price will stay lower. If you need to check baggage, ensure that your baggage does not go over weight requirements. An overweight bag may cost up to $175 (Delta airlines). To avoid costs on seating, check in online just prior to your flight (most airlines open up online check-in 24 hours before scheduled departures), when non-assigned seating inventory usually opens up to all passengers.
Avoid fees on awards points and frequent flier miles by cashing in your frequent flier miles before the deadline or use your awards for something else. Several airlines — including United, American, and Continental — will waive baggage fees if you are an elite member of their frequent flyer program. So becoming a member of a frequent flier mile club is a good way to reduce extra costs on your airlines tickets over time.
Overall, it is important for consumers to be aware of these fees and to avoid the fees they can when traveling by planning ahead.
Source 1, Source 2, Source 3