In 2011, for baggage fees alone, consumers paid $3.63 billion (Yes, you read that right). The amount forked over in à la carte fees climbs higher each year, says Joel Frey, a spokesperson for Travelocity.com, as airlines pile on even more charges. There was a time back in the day, when your airfare included a seat, all of your baggage, a drink, meal or snack served by a pretty stewardess with good manners. Now, we are lucky to just have a seat! Charges for a bag, beverage & snacks are common on most airlines. Consider yourself lucky if you do not have to pay for your carry-on bag. Some of these charges are hidden and not published alongside fares, so you’ll have to do some digging to figure out the overall cost of your trip. By booking online, you can avoid or at the very least, reduce some of the expense.
A recent poll found that 15 percent of people are also willing to pay to get off the plane first, so don’t be surprised if you’re soon billed for that privilege. Some people want to be first for everything, not me. I will not pay for that. Once the airplane has landed safely, my fears are over. I just gather my belongings and wait to enter the terminal. Would you pay to get off first?
Pick Your Travel Days Wisely.
If you’re traveling within the United States, flying on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday will get you the lowest airfare because there are fewer fliers on these days. If you can’t both depart and return on the cheapest days, you still get half the savings if you pick one for your inbound or outbound flight. For trans-Atlantic flights, Monday through Thursday are the cheapest, but fares change drastically during certain seasons, so use all your options.
The Golden Time: Tuesday at 3 p.m.
The airline departments that create fare sales usually do so on Monday afternoons. These sales are then distributed to travel sites such as Expedia.com and also posted on the airline’s own site. Competing airlines see these sales the next morning and adjust their fares accordingly, and final sale pricing hits reservations systems at 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Most of these sales expire with two days or less so don’t procrastinate.Most airlines and travel sites offer some of this information online. To compare rates side by side, visit Airfarewatchdog.com’s baggage chart, which lists baggage rates for different U.S. airlines, including fees for overweight and oversize bags. We are going on vacation very soon and travelling on two airlines for our seven day trip. Our departure airline allows one free checked bag and our arrival airline (Jet Blue) charges $25.00 for one checked bag. Even though the fares are the same the baggage charges are entirely different. I always check my bags and hate to lug around baggage inside the airport, so the price of checked bags is very important to me. Here are some of the fees:
- Carry-on bag: free to $45.
- Checked baggage: first bag: free to $45. Second bag: Free to $55. Third bag: $50 to $150.
- Pet boarding: $10 to $200.
- Flight-reservation cancellation or change: free to $150.
- Over-the-phone and in-person booking: free to $45.
- In-flight TV or movie: free to $8.
- In-flight Wi-Fi: $5 to $14 for a 24-hour unlimited pass.
- Unaccompanied minor: free to $100.
- Extra legroom and picking a seat: $4 to $199.
- Snack: free to $10.
- Meal: $3 to $14.
- Nonalcoholic drink: free to $10.
- Alcoholic drink: $5 to $10.
- Pillow or blanket: free to $10.
These days it is necessary to have a sturdy small suitcase if you travel often. The baggage handlers don’t give a damn if your bag is colorful with flowers, and toss it outside in inclement weather too. All of these fees are subject to change and vary from airline to airline. Most airlines offer a discounted price for your bag if you book online and can save you some money on other fees. Don’t take my word. . . Know before you Go!