The price you see in online travel search engines often does not accurately reflect the total cost of a flight, so it is important to keep this in mind when booking a flight online.
Added fees for seats, bags, and the like drive up the initial price. You pay more for conveniences, too, such as boarding early.
Here are some of the airline add-on fees to watch out for and a few tips to avoid paying them.
Checked bag fees
There has been an increase in checked bag fees in recent years. Airlines now charge $25 or more for the first bag each way. A family of four would have to pay an additional $200 for a round-trip flight.
If you have more than one checked bag or if your bag is too heavy or large, airlines usually charge even higher fees.
The majority of airline credit cards will cover the first checked bag for you on the same itinerary and sometimes even for your travel companions on the same itinerary.
Checked bags can also be covered for free for those who reach airline elite status and for those who purchase some kinds of tickets (particularly premium classes).
Alternatively, you can fly Southwest Airlines, which offers passengers two free checked bags.
Carry-on bag fees
Carry-on bags are preferred by many travelers in order to avoid checked bag fees, avoid waiting at baggage claims, or prevent their bags from being delayed or lost.
Depending on the ticket class you purchase, some airlines may charge you for carrying a bag on board if you choose to use the overhead bins.
Try to avoid buying tickets that charge a fee for carry-on bags and instead purchase a ticket in the next class that allows a carry-on, which will likely be a little more expensive.
You might be able to save money if you prepay for your carry-on bag in advance instead of booking on the day of your flight if you are set on finding the lowest fare.
Seat selection fees
In order to select your seat ahead of your flight, you may have to pay an additional fee. This is done deliberately to make it difficult for you to sit with your travel companions if you don’t and go by chance.
It is also important to note that if you wish to sit in an exit row or a seat with more legroom or near the front of the plane, you should expect to pay more out of pocket.
If you don’t pay a seating fee then you risk being placed toward the back of the plane or in the middle seat, but you will save some money. Generally, you can choose your seat in the premium cabin at the time of booking if there are any available seats in that section of the aircraft.