The holiday season is fast approaching, which means one thing for sure for many of us: lots of airline travel. And with air travel comes all those tacked-on charges for baggage, booking, pets, and more. Here's the latest strategies for keeping more money in your pocket--after all, the tickets alone are gonna be pricey enough.
Baggage Fees: Many airlines now charge $15 - $25 per checked bag--a definite factor in your final price if you're paying it twice on a round trip. Traveling with a buddy or a family? If possible, consolidate everyone's items that won't fit in their carry-ons into one checked bag, and split the cost. Pre-paying a checked baggage fee online can sometimes save you a few bucks too, advises bs13690. Or, fly with Southwest (which allows two free checked bags) or Jetblue (which allows one).
Flight Change Fees: Changing your flight is always rife with fees. Most airlines recalculate your fare for what your new flights cost at the time you rebook, and then there's typically a penalty fee for non-refundable fare tickets that's $150 or more. How to avoid it? The only way is to book a refundable full fare ticket, expensive though it may be. Southwest airlines alone doesn't charge the extra penalty fee, though, so if you're re-booking with them, you may save quite a bit.
Holiday Surcharges: Last year, tons of major airlines slapped a $10-$20 "holiday" charge on high-travel days around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Will it happen this year? It's likely--especially since many airlines extended those fees for other popular travel dates too. To avoid these fees, take paigey121's sound advice: "High Season: book early. Low season: better to book later." (Check out her personal guide for booking almost anything travel-related, too!)
Booking Fees: These are the "talk to a human" fees often charged if you book on the phone rather than online--so beware. Southwest and Frontier don't charge this fee, but most others generally charge around $15 and up.
Pet Fees: Flying any pet (especially a larger animal) is challenging, and usually some sort of expense is unavoidable. Pet Airways is devoted to flying pets (all in the main cabin, too!) but its destinations are limited, and tickets can be expensive. In general, most other airlines charge between $70-$125 to fly your four-legged friend, so factor that in when you book.
Use IgoUgo’s flight comparison tool to get cheap flights to begin with--then whichever of the fees you encounter won’t seem so bad!
Posted by SpecialK3883 (Kelly L. Phillips)