Most of us are familiar with discount airlines or no-frills carriers. Whether you travel for a living like me, or are merely trying to get the best possible price for your upcoming vacation, you have likely at one point or another been drawn to cheap flights with illusions of big savings. However, how much you will actually save on one of these discounted flights or budget airlines depends a lot on strategy, the ability to compromise, reading the fine print, and being prepared.
The Extra Fees and How to Work Around Them
We live in a world where we want to fly insanely cheap and fast. Those of us who travel and write want the best of the best for competitive prices. We want things like lightning speed internet, fast loading email, and of course getting some of the necessities of the trade for cheap – be it free webhosting or flights that are about the price of a bus ticket. We live in a fast-paced, high-demand world and have become spoiled by the luxury of affordable and accessible travel. However, this low-fare travel is actually only affordable if you circumnavigate all of the other tacked-on expenses and fees.
- Opt-Out Extras and Fine Print
You need to read the fine print very carefully when booking a discounted flight. Normally you need to be willing to be flexible with dates and times, but be sure that this will actually work out, otherwise rescheduling or cancellation fees will likely cost more than your flight. Also be sure to read everything thoroughly. Some airlines require you to opt-out of certain features – like travel insurance – so make sure any unnecessary boxes get unchecked and save yourself some cash.
- Baggage Fees
We all know that we need to conform to luggage size and weight restrictions; however, most discount airlines charge for checked luggage and some are now charging for carryon as well. If you can, avoid having to bring checked luggage with you. Packing right and light can be a big money saver. Another way to save money to go around the world is by finding discoutned tickets on some websites you can get discounts on 50+ Airlines.
- Boarding Pass Printing Fees
Save yourself the added stress in the airport – which is already not the most relaxing place – by printing your boarding ticket out at home or utilizing a mobile check-in option. There is nothing more annoying than being slapped with a charge ranging from $5 to an outrageous $25 at your check-in counter simply to print out your ticket.
- Meal and Snack Fees
Most airlines no longer offer complementary food and drinks, so pack snacks ahead of time and either pack an empty water bottle that you can fill up after you pass through security, or purchase a drink before coming to your gate. It’s expensive, but is actually a very wise investment since the air in the plane seems to be set at a “dehydrate you beyond belief” climate setting.
- Seat Booking Fees
Ultimately, the only trick here is to not be fussy about your seat. If you are traveling with someone and want to sit together, you may have to suck it up and pay to reserve seats together. But if you are free and easy about it, then you can avoid this fee. If you want to know exactly what you are getting when booking a seat, you can use a service like SeatGuru, offered by TripAdvisor, which compares various airlines and lets you know what is included in your seat price – from food and entertainment to things like the amount of leg room.
- Entertainment and Comfort Fees
Again, this is now a luxury. Bring a book or an iPad stored with shows (just remember to switch it to flight mode before takeoff) and come prepared with a travel pillow and a travel blanket.
When it comes to scoring an incredible deal on a flight, it’s mostly a matter of working around the inevitable added fees and expenses. As long as we don’t have to start paying to use the toilet, all other extra fees are actually quite manageable to avoid.