With the way ticket prices have been going on sale like crazy, everyone has suddenly developed the inclination to travel. Yet, before buying those flight tickets, make sure you’re not actually going to pay more due to hidden charges. Here are some of the fees you need to be mindful about and how you can avoid them:
- Baggage Fees
Nowadays, the most common cost-cutting strategy for airlines is to tighten their baggage restrictions. So, before booking your ticket, always check the baggage inclusions first, in order to have a good idea of the total cost you have to pay for flying with your preferred airline.
If you have allowable baggage included in the ticket, take note of the dimensions and weight that’s allowable for your flight. Depending on your destination, this will vary significantly. If your bag is oversized, you can incur additional fees, even if your luggage isn’t overweight. If baggage is not included at all, check how much a checked luggage is going to cost you. Take note that there are other airlines that charge for carry-on luggage as well, so it’s best to know the inclusions beforehand before confirming that flight.
The trick is to pack light or book with an airline that has an all-inclusive fee. There are also other airlines that offer free luggage to those who have availed of their banded credit cards. Whatever you do, always read the conditions of the fare you are purchasing. This can help you make informed decisions and avoid unnecessary expenditures without leaving your home country yet.
Tip: Create a capsule wardrobe by choosing your color scheme in advance and bringing only the pieces that can be easily mixed and match accordingly. It is best to wear your bulkiest items with you upon boarding, so you can just take them off mid-air and place them in your carry-on. Normally, airlines are not strict with the weight of the carry-on luggage, as long as the bag itself is not oversized.
- Booking Fees
There are some airlines that charge booking fees when you book through the phone or via their website. This can reach up to 45 USD, and it’s really just an add-on cost that’s not well worth the money.
Before purchasing your ticket, find out how much the booking fee costs and if there’s any way this can be waived. If you can book through the phone for free, by all means. If it’s not free, the cheapest option is normally through booking online.
As it is not the same for all airlines, you can always make an inquiry over their customer service hotline for free. It doesn’t hurt to call your airline to inquire about your ticket and its inclusions, and make sure to ask about the booking fee, as well. Even if it doesn’t cost a fortune, you don’t want to be surprised with a 45-dollar add-on you had absolutely no idea of.
- Flight Rebooking Fees
Having your ticket changed to a different flight schedule can cost almost the same amount as a newly purchased ticket. Yet, not everyone is aware that there are federal rules that require airline companies to give full refunds to consumers who cancel their tickets within 24 hours of purchase, as long as the flight doesn’t leave until the next 7 days. What this means is that your non-refundable ticket is actually still refundable within that 24-hour window.
If you’re traveling on the same day and just want to change your departure time, check with your airline for their same-day change fees. Some airlines offer cheaper same-day change fees than when rebooking ahead of time. Just be aware of the possibility that the flight you want to get on is actually full.
The best way to really avoid having to pay for rebooking fees is to consider buying flexible or refundable tickets. Although they may be a little more expensive than non-refundable tickets, it is less financially risky!
- Preferred Seat Selection
Airlines have discovered that many travelers are willing to pay a premium for better seats that offer wider legroom. Instead of being able to get these seats on a first-come-first-serve basis, they are now charging their passengers extra to reserve these seats in advance. What’s worse is that some airlines are being very cunning about seat selection using their booking platforms. They show you a seat plan, ask you to select a seat, and don’t make it explicit in their websites that this is an add-on cost. While your preferred seat won’t cost you more than your actual flight ticket, it can still range from $25 to $99. It is best to confirm what the costs are before you select the best seat in the plane.
- In-flight Food and Beverages
If your flight is more than six hours, in-flight food is normally included in the fare. However, some budget airlines have begun to remove complimentary meals or drinks as part of their in-flight services to cut down on costs. It is best to check the website of your airline to see what’s included in your flight. This will give you ample time to prepare for some mid-air chow, without having to shell out thrice as much for it!
In the end, airlines maximize their profits by minimizing the perks and benefits you get as a passenger. It is your responsibility to check what’s included and excluded in your fare price to properly estimate the total cost it is to fly with that airline. Luckily for you, the list above gives you the fees you have to look out for before you even go ahead in booking those tickets.
The best way to go about it is to find three airlines that fly to your destination and compare their offers and total costs with each other. Even if it seems like you’re saving more with a certain option, it never hurts to double check and compare. More savings equals more flights!