Find Hidden Fees Before You Fly

Hidden airline fees have become a fact of life. Simply buying a ticket and boarding a plane is, for most people, no longer enough to fly from one place to another. Now when you go to the airport a metaphorical line of airline employees have their hands out from the moment you walk in to the second you finally walk out and into the town or city of your destination. If you’re not careful you could end up out a couple hundred dollars before you even land in your vacation destination. The following are just a few hidden airline fees to avoid.

Better to Book Online

Most airlines now charge extra if you don’t book your flight online. US Airways will charge you an extra twenty-five dollars to book a flight over the phone and an extra thirty-five dollars should you have the gall to book your flight in person. However, this isn’t a gigantic inconvenience for most of us that order and book everything online now. Yet should you choose to book online you may be charged an extra fee for paying with a credit card. A nice catch 22 created by airlines to catch you unaware with your wallet out.

Sending Unattended Kids

Unaccompanied minor fees have become outrageously expensive. Having been an unaccompanied minor on a variety of airplane flights during my youth I can assure you that the flight attendant does little more than show you where to sit before takeoff and where to exit afterwards. However, round trips for two unaccompanied minors can cost an extra three hundred dollars depending on the airline.

When you book your flight, make sure you are certain that you will be able to travel on the date you book. Should you decide to change flights you could be charged anywhere from fifty to three hundred dollars extra. The only airline that doesn’t charge extra is Southwest.

“No Hidden Fees” No More!

Southwest had a “no hidden fees” commercial campaign about two years ago. It was so successful, that many consumers still remember it. The problem is that two years ago things were different.

Now, even Southwest charges extra fees. For example, Southwest charges $75 to bring small animals onto the plane. Southwest has begun charging $25 for unaccompanied minors and $50. Southwest has even begun taking $10 for people who want priority seating. Because Southwest does not assign seats, you would normally have the luck of the draw, or need to arrive early. This fee lets you get to the front of the boarding line so long as you arrive before boarding begins. So much for no hidden fees.

If the Fees are Hidden, How do You Find Them?

Save yourself some money and take a deep look at the possible extra fees you may encounter before you show up at the airline terminal. Not all of them are obvious and some can’t even be found on the airlines’ websites. The best place to uncover them is at online forums for travelers.