20 dollars here, 50 dollars there. Those fees add up to a big profit for airlines. They pocketed $6 billion dollars last year just on these extra fees alone.
Let's break down where our hard-earned dollars are going in fees so we know how to avoid them:
Be smart about bag fees
Know your bag feel rules -- as they vary among airlines. Spirit airlines just raised its rates for example -- and standard fees depend on when you pay, for instance, whether that's at the time of booking, check-in or at the gate. In all, they have more than twenty different fee levels for bags, all with different prices. Most carriers have some kind of checked baggage fee, but there are a few that don't like south west and jet blue. You can also avoid the fee by using airline-affiliated credit cards that nix the fee- or frequent flier programs
Be flexible on seat selection
Everyone wants to sit with the person you are traveling with. But airlines know this too and some are starting to charge if you ask for a seat change.
Some fees go as high as 80 dollars. If you don't have strong feelings about your seat assignment you can avoid these fees.
This is easy and simple. Don't make your reservation over the phone. Many carriers charge from $10-$25 dollars.
Set your schedule in stone
This is a hard one - but one of the larger charges are change fees. It could cost you anywhere from $30 to $200 dollars to change your itinerary.
All these fees really do add up -- and all it takes is a little discipline -- and perhaps good packing skills -- to avoid a lot of them.
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