If you fly often, you probably already know how expensive it can be. Just the tickets alone can set you back hundreds of dollars, not to mention the check baggage fees.
But did you know there are other, hidden fees that make air travel so expensive? There are some that you just can’t avoid, depending on how or with whom you are traveling with, but there are others that you can avoid paying for if you pay attention. Here are a few of the sneaky fees that some airlines may try to charge you for.
Changes in Flight
Although no one ever plans on needing to change or cancel their flight, airline cancellation fees can really hurt when you are forced to make them. Not only is there a fee in most cases, you will probably be charged for a premium ticket as well, so you could be out hundreds of dollars in the case of an emergency.
There are, however, a few things you can do to avoid paying these fees. First, airlines are required to give you 24 hours after the purchase of a ticket to change or cancel without penalty, as long as the flight was booked seven or more days in advance. If there is a death in your immediate family, you are entitled to have the fee waived, or if you are summoned for jury duty or any other civic responsibility.
If you only need to change or cancel one part of your trip, it may be to your advantage to book a one-way trip to offset the cost of the fees and still get to your destination on time. If the airline charges a change fee but you aren’t responsible for a cancellation fee, just cancel and book all over again.
Seat Selection Fee
It may seem an odd thing to do since everybody on the plane arrives at the destination at the same time, but some people like to book specific seats when they fly. This is a sure way to pay a little extra in fees.
Depending on the airline, you could be charged anywhere from five to $80 for the “service” of selecting your own seats. If you are travel with a group of people, this may be worth it to sit together, but if you let the computer assign you to random seats, you will avoid the fee altogether.
Carry-On Bag Fee
You would think that bringing a carry on is a great way to avoid extra baggage fees by not checking another piece of luggage — and in a lot of cases, you’d be right — but some airlines charge up to $100 for you to bring a carry-on.
To avoid this fee, it’s best to do a little research before you book your flight. If you know for a fact that you need to use a carry-on, look for an airline that doesn’t charge. A caveat to this fee is when your carry on is too big: a lot of airlines will charge you a fee then because they have to stow the bag.
Phone Reservations Fees
With today’s technology, most people book their flights online. Some people, however, still prefer to speak to a customer representative in person and book their flights over the phone. They may not know that they are probably being charged for this service.
If you book over the phone, chances are that you are paying around $20 for the service. This is because most airlines want you to book through their website since it’s automated and doesn’t require a person. And it’s another $20 if you need to make any changes or cancellations over the phone as well.
Some airlines have waived this fee, but it seems like most of them will keep it. The best way to avoid this is to simply book your tickets online, or find an airline that doesn’t charge for this service.
This is one of those unavoidable fees that you will have to pay if you want your pet to accompany you along your trip.
The best thing to do in this situation is to compare the costs and go from there. While you’ll still be charged, the range can differ by $50 or more between airlines, so find one that can get you and your pet to your destination for cheap.
Next time you book an airline ticket, watch out for those possible hidden fees.
Imogen Pearce writes about travel. As a travel-a-holic, she figures if she’s not actually traveling, or planning, she can at least write about it!