6 Ways to Beat the Latest Airline Fees

Photo (cc) by Kuster & Wildhaber Photography

In addition to celebrity antics and Wall Street dips, new airline fees seem to be dominating the headlines recently. The latest proposed fee is for the pleasure of sitting in a window or aisle seat – a slap in the wallet for anyone who gets claustrophobic when flying.

These rising costs created the perfect environment for Sears to launch its vacation layaway site this month. The service offers travelers the option to put plane tickets and vacation packages on layaway, although details about interest payments and other fees aren’t yet known.

Despite Sears’ potentially positive option for travelers, most announcements coming from the airline industry are cringe-worthy. Here are a few more examples of airlines gone mad, and how to cope with them the next time you fly…

1. Pay up to pre-board

United joined the likes of American Airlines when they recently nixed the perk of pre-boarding for those flying with children. This move may be part of the airline’s plan to charge consumers who want to board early, a fee many airlines have already imposed. American Airlines offers a service called Express Seats that charges $19 to $39 for each flight segment, and Southwest requests $10 for Early Bird Check-In. If you’re flying with small kids, go with airlines like JetBlue Airways, Delta, and Virgin America – which still allow complimentary pre-boarding for families.

2. Carry-on luggage fee

Allegiant Air and Spirit Airlines are now charging for carry-on luggage, with Spirit announcing a whopping $100 carry-on luggage fee effective this November for those travelers paying for their bag at the boarding gate. If you prefer carry-on to checked bags, browse Freeshipping.org for deals on compact luggage from Macy’s and other stores, and learn to pack light. Otherwise, be sure to pre-pay for your carry-on when booking your flight.

3. Frontier’s cookies

Once upon a time, Frontier offered complimentary chocolate chip cookies. Sadly, they’ve eliminated this freebie as a cost-saving measure. Since many airlines are charging for once-complimentary meals, it pays to pack a picnic lunch. Just make sure it’s smush-proof and doesn’t include liquids. Naturally, you’ll want to include your own cookie. A few airlines like JetBlue and Southwest still provide a free snack, so take that into consideration when pricing out flight and airline options for your next trip.

4. Frequent flier charges

It’s almost not worth signing up for frequent-flier programs anymore. Some airlines have moved toward charging fees just for booking flights with reward points. US Airways, for example, charges a $25 to $50 “processing fee” when redeeming miles for a flight. Check out AirfareWatchdog.com for a comparison of mileage redemption fees, and always review the airline’s frequent flier policy before registering for their program.

5. Wider seats

According to Bloomberg, Airbus is promoting a version of its A320 jet that would have 20-inch-wide aisle seats in coach. Airbus estimates airlines will charge a $10 fee for the extra room, but that’s still a lot cheaper than paying for business or first class. Other airlines like Virgin America, Air Canada, and JetBlue already charge a fee for seats with extra leg room, up to a whopping $60 per flight. If you’re tall, you may have to curl up in tighter coach seats to save.

6. Copays for upgrades

Airlines like United, American, and Continental now charge travelers a fee in addition to accrued miles to upgrade select economy seats. If you want to use your miles toward a seat upgrade, read the fine print to see if you’ll be charged a copay at the gate. Otherwise, save your miles and your cash by sticking with your original seats.

Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc. Visit AndreaWoroch.com or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
5 Ways to Avoid Taxes on Social Security Income
5 Ways to Avoid Taxes on Social Security Income

Here’s how to minimize and delay the chunk that Uncle Sam claims.

15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It
15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It

Discover some must-have products on Amazon that you didn’t even know you were missing.

9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline
9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline

Forget expensive specialty products. Good ol’ petroleum jelly can address many common annoyances.

Replace These 8 Things — for Your Health and Your Budget
Replace These 8 Things — for Your Health and Your Budget

Being frugal isn’t smart if you put off replacing these things. Waiting too long can cost money or even endanger your health.

2-Minute Money Strategy: How Should I Invest My Retirement Savings?
2-Minute Money Strategy: How Should I Invest My Retirement Savings?

If retirement is on the horizon, you can’t afford to take too much risk, but you also need to make as much as possible. Here are your options.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping on Amazon
9 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping on Amazon

Are you losing money due to any of these missteps?

Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?
Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?

The rules are complicated when it comes to eligibility for survivors benefits.

8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone
8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone

It’s never too early to start learning how to live well while living on less.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

6 Great Gifts on Sale at Amazon Today
6 Great Gifts on Sale at Amazon Today

As the holidays near, we’re highlighting some of the best deals on gift ideas.

27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free
27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free

When you know the tricks, you can save big on all kinds of useful things that others pay for.

This Deal Offers 85 Channels of Live TV for $10 Per Month
This Deal Offers 85 Channels of Live TV for $10 Per Month

You can start the new year off with some cheap entertainment — while the offer lasts.

11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco
11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco

Not all generics are worthwhile, but these are among the best from Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand.

15 Free Streaming Services to Watch While Stuck at Home
15 Free Streaming Services to Watch While Stuck at Home

These free movie streaming sites offer thousands of movies and TV shows, including recent releases and beloved classics. If you love free movies, online sites are where you need to look for the best list of features that are just one easy click away.

This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s
10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s

From snacks to sweets to side dishes, stock your cart with these time-tested favorites on your next TJ’s run.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have all of these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

4 Tax Credits That Will Be More Generous in 2021
4 Tax Credits That Will Be More Generous in 2021

If you are eligible for these tax breaks, they will slash your federal income tax bill — dollar for dollar.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

There are easy high-paying majors available in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required. We’re here to help you find easy degrees that pay well.

The Worst Day of the Year to Buy a Used Car
The Worst Day of the Year to Buy a Used Car

If you need a new set of wheels, avoid shopping on this day.

7 Stores That Match — or Beat — Amazon Prices
7 Stores That Match — or Beat — Amazon Prices

These retailers offer some of the most consumer-friendly price-match policies anywhere.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.