It’s so annoying to find what you think is a good deal on a flight only to find a load of extra charges, but there are some ways to avoid airline fees. These pesky additional charges can really rack up if you aren’t careful and don’t know what they are. Follow these ways to avoid airline fees and keep your travel costs reasonable.
1. Weigh and Measure Your Luggage
One of the best ways to avoid airline fees is to make sure your luggage doesn’t exceed the weight and size limits. While checking one bag can make your wallet 40-70 dollars lighter in the blink of an eye, the extra fees are the ones that offer it the most effective “weight loss session.” The overweight baggage fee can cost you between $50 and $400 for just one bag, besides the regular fee for checking your luggage. Such extra fees usually apply if your bag is heavier than 40-50 lbs. On the other hand, your bag can be as light as a feather, but if it’s not maximum 62 inches (L+W+H), you will, again, have to dig deeper into your pockets – until you find $50-$600, to be a bit more precise.
2. Choose Your Airlines Wisely
Another of the ways to avoid airline fees is to choose the right carriers. Since avoiding baggage fees is usually the most difficult to achieve – unless you want to wear all the clothes for the trip on the plane – I recommend you to fly JetBlue or Southwest. First of all, they don’t charge for carry-on baggage, plus the first bag you check will be free of charge. Actually, out of the two companies, I guess Southwest would be one of the best ways to avoid airline fees, since they show even more generosity: you can check a second bag for free as well! Do research your own country’s budget carriers to see which offer the best fee structure overall.
3. Be Sure of Your Plans before Buying a Ticket
If you want some more ideas as to how to avoid airline fees, consider getting a non-refundable ticket, since it’s significantly cheaper than refundable ones. But you must be absolutely sure there won’t be any change of plans, because if you want to change a non-refundable ticket, you will end up paying between $75 and $175 in extra fees. Of course, if you do your homework properly, you might be able to find an airline that doesn’t charge ticket-exchange fees.
4. Go Straight to the Source if You’re Not Absolutely Sure about Your Plans
One of the smartest ways to avoid airline fees I would recommend if you aren’t absolutely sure about your travel plans is to go directly to the airline to book your ticket. Many of them practice extra fees for changing tickets booked through third parties.
5. Book Online
If you are wondering how to reduce flight costs even further, you must know that booking your ticket by phone will cost you around $15 - $45 in extra fees. It may not sound like a fortune, but when we’re talking about short flights, the phone booking fee becomes a significant part of your total flight costs. So, the solution? Book online. It is a lot simpler than by phone, and most companies in the US don’t charge anything for online booking.
6. Bring Your Own Entertainment
To avoid paying for the onboard entertainment offered by the company (Wi-Fi costs around $13 no matter the airline you choose, although some are moving to free Wi-Fi), bring a good book or some magazines with you. Reading material is not subject to personal-item or carry-on restrictions, so it won’t cost you anything.
7. Wear Warm Clothes Onboard
Finally, here is one of the ways to avoid airline fees that persons who can’t stand cold temperatures will surely appreciate. Considering how chilly it gets on an airplane and the overweight baggage fees, wearing all your clothes onboard sounds more and more tempting. It will also spare you having to pay a fee for a blanket! I know I’m exaggerating a bit, but seriously now: dress in layers and have an extra sweater with you.
Make sure you read the terms and conditions of your carrier and the ticket you are booking. These ways to avoid airline fees need to be applied individually to each operator and each time you fly because charging policies and baggage rules are forever changing. Have you ever been stung by extra charges when flying?