There’s nothing more frustrating that finding a great deal on a flight only to end up having to pay a mountain of hidden fees once you finally arrive at the airport, ready for your next big adventure. It’s important to keep in mind that the price you too posted on the airline’s website might not always be the amount you end up paying for the entire journey – but if you are careful, you can steer clear of unexpected costs along the way.
The trick is to be aware of where these charges are hidden, as well as to make note of what you can do along the way to prevent them from being added to your bill. We have compiled a list of questions and answers that will help you prepare for potential hidden charges and avoid them, if possible. This ensures that you can save your money and spend it on what really matters.
What Are Baggage Fees?
Baggage fees are among the most expensive of the hidden fees at any airline. In the past, people were freer to pack as much as they wanted for their holidays, but these days, travelers are extremely restricted in what they can take on board.
This means that they are often charged for baggage, whether they are checking it in or not. Before booking a ticket, make sure you read the baggage policy so you can take note of your allowance. You’ll usually be expected to pay around $25 to $75 for the initial checked bag.
How Can I Avoid Hidden Baggage Fees?
You don’t have to pay baggage fees if you are smart about booking your flights through the right credit card. If your airline is partnered with a specific credit card, you could get your baggage checked for free by exchanging your reward points with the airline. If you haven’t got the right credit card, it might be worth getting one as the signup bonus is usually significant.
Another way to avoid these fees is to fly with an airline that offers free carry-on luggage, and only take one bag. It can be tough to store everything in one bag but it’s better to get used to savvy packing than to spend a fortune on hidden fees.
Can I Choose My Seat?
Usually, choosing your seat means paying additional fees for the privilege and this can quickly become quite costly. If you prefer a window or aisle seat – or you want some extra leg room you can expect to pay between $10 and $60 just for that alone.
The only way around this cost is to wait until the checking in period begins, as that allows you to pick your seat without paying. The only issue with this is that you need to be quick about it or you could end up losing out. Try to check in as early as possible so that you’re one of the first to choose your seat.
How Much Does It Cost To Cancel A Flight?
There are many reasons for cancelling a flight but it doesn’t matter why you’re doing it, if you change the date or time on your ticket, you might be expected to pay a cancellation fee and these can be really hefty indeed. In some instances, you might have to cancel and then rebook your ticket, even if you’re just looking to change the name on your ticket.
You might have to pay between $200 and $750 to change a domestic or international ticket with someone like American Airlines. Some airlines allow you to pay a little extra when booking the ticket that will allow you to cancel at no additional cost.
What is more, the U.S Department of Transportation has made it possible for you to cancel or change a reservation as long as you’ve booked it within 24 hours of the change and the flight is at least 7 days away. What is more, the ticket needs to be non-refundable.
Do I Pay to Redeem Frequent Flyer Miles?
It depends on the airline, as well as the date you’ve booked. Companies such as United Airlines, for example, expect you to pay for a flight with miles at least 21 days in advance of the flight, otherwise they will charge you a fee for the privilege.
What About Meals And Drinks On Board?
On some long haul flights, you might expect to receive a free breakfast, lunch or dinner, but this is not usually the case on short haul flights. A simple snack or small beverage can cost you a fortune in the air, so it’s best to come prepared.
Make sure that you bring along something to snack on in the air, and purchase your drink once you’ve gone through security. While a drink might cost you more at an airport than it would at a local store, it will cost you even more once you are in the air. You could also skip the purchased drink entirely and ask the hostess for a cup of water.
How Do I Avoid Credit And Debit Card Charges?
It is not only the airlines that charge hidden fees but the debit and credit card companies themselves. In order to avoid these, look for the payment option that will offer you the lowest fees – or no fees at all.
You might find that the card aligned with the airline is usually the best one with which to pay. If you’re booking with an American airline, US law will prevent them from adding hidden fees to a credit card transaction, but this isn’t the case with foreign airlines.
Should I Opt For Travel Insurance?
Travel insurance doesn’t always cost an arm and a leg, but it can quickly drive up the price of a ticket and you might not even need it. Some credit cards and bank accounts offer travel insurance, so you might find that you already have the necessary insurance to cover you on your trip.