Whether it’s the holidays and you’re thinking about booking a flight to see family, or you just want to travel, many expenses can come up. Budgets might be shot if you’re not careful to find the best deals. After all, buying a plane ticket is one of, if not the most, expensive parts of planning a trip.
But even if you were to find a great deal on a ticket and meet your budget for the trip, unexpected fees may come up as you go through the process of making it to your destination. Thankfully there are hacks to getting around these fees that the companies charge. You don’t have to worry about paying more than you expected if you fly smart.
1. CHANGING FLIGHT FEES
This is probably the most expensive fee you can get when booking with an airline. So many times things come up; our schedule changes unexpectedly or we get sick. It’s understandable, but the airlines aren’t always going to be sympathetic.
United can charge $200 for cancelling a flight which seems pretty harsh. Other airlines aren’t as bad, but it’s unavoidable unless you know how to get around the fee.
It’s known as same-day change. Certain airlines such as Southwest and Jetblue will either charge little to no fee for changing it on the day of the flight. So wait it out and you’ll end up saving more money on the cancellation or change.
JetBlue waives change or cancellation fees for their TrueBlue Mosaic Elite members. And United only charges a small fee for same-day changes for their gold, platinum, and 1K members. So becoming a part of their memberships can save you a lot money and headaches as well.
2. CARRY-ON BAGGAGE FEES
Certain airlines will charge you for your carry-on items. It might not seem fair, especially if they’re charging you thirty to a hundred dollars for an item that’s only a couple pounds.
Thankfully though, many airlines don’t charge you for a carry-on. So before you choose an airline to fly with, check out this ultimate guide to airline fees that shows you which airlines charge or don’t charge for carry-ons.
3. CHECK-IN AND OVERWEIGHT BAGGAGE FEES
Usually checked-in baggage fees cost around twenty five dollars, and some airlines charge even more. Southwest and Jetblue however give you the first bag free.
Another way to save money and avoid this fee is by packing smart with your carry on.
To make everything fit into your carry on, you’re going to need to plan out your packing. Decide only what is necessary, not what you might use or wear.
Wear your bulkiest clothing like sweaters, boots, or tennis shoes on travel days. That way if you need them, you’re taking them with you, but they’re not taking up space in your small suitcase or bag.
You can also get creative with your space, like stuffing small items into your shoes or zipping up the suitcase, shaking it down, and putting the last few items into the space that was created by everything moving down. Use the space wisely and you’ll save yourself money on the check-in fee.
Overweight fees can vary upon how much overweight your baggage is and how far and where you’re travelling. You’ll be paying that high fee along with a check-in fee, so over packing is just not worth it.
4. FOOD FEES
It used to be that food and drinks were free when you flew, but now airlines have started to charge for that as well. Some small snacks are free and some airlines give you small free drinks. But if that’s not enough to satisfy your hunger, and you don’t want to spend money on their food, then consider packing your own snacks.
It’s true that bottled water and drinks aren’t allowed past the security check, but you can quickly get some still if your terminal area has vending machines or eateries.
5. USE OF COUNTER AND OPERATOR SERVICES
Some airlines charge you for using their services over the phone or at the desk at the airport. They see it as more efficient for you to do all your research and work online instead of using their staff, hence the fee.
It’ll save you money to know this and go online for future bookings and do the work yourself. No need to pay someone something you could have done yourself.
Creating a budget for travel can be a bit of work, especially when you’re trying hard to stick to the plan. It can be stressful when unexpected charges and fees pop up that you weren’t accounting for. Sometimes the unexpected happens.
But knowing what’s facing you when deciding on an airline can give you peace of mind. You won’t have to stress yourself out if you don’t have much wiggle room for expenses. And when others are falling into the trap of unknown fees, you can sit down in your booked seat and rest, knowing you were prepared.
If this post added value and gave you perspective on airline fees, then I’m glad I could help. However, if you didn’t feel like you were helped or didn’t find what you were looking for, email me or let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear your feedback on what you were hoping to get from this post and why it didn’t help you.
Chasing Foxes was started in 2016 as a way for Grace and her husband, Silas, to start traveling. However, they started to realize that they had a passion for improving themselves, and wanted to help others level up their lives as well. So whether it's with cooking, travel, or staying healthy, they want to help you better your life bit by bit, as they do the same.