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
15 Ways Retirees Can Make Their Savings Last Longer
15 Ways Retirees Can Make Their Savings Last Longer

Study these strategies to make your golden years gleam.

Beware These 5 Common Work-From-Home Scams
Beware These 5 Common Work-From-Home Scams

You can spot scammers and con artists with a little know-how.

The 5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
The 5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

Not Asking About This in the Hospital Can Cost You Thousands
Not Asking About This in the Hospital Can Cost You Thousands

Medicare recipients who fail to clarify their hospital status can pay a high price.

Retiree Households Lose $111,000 to This Social Security Misstep
Retiree Households Lose $111,000 to This Social Security Misstep

A study finds 96% of retirees make this mistake when claiming Social Security benefits.

View this page without ads

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

Get Started

Most Popular
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.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

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

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

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.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

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.

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.