Avoid paying extra with a few of the tips of a smart traveler. And stop spending so much money on small model airplanes.
Everything seems to be going so well with air travel; according to the latest government statistics, more flights arrive on time and fewer bags are lost. It feels like passengers are the better, plus, we see all these offers for fall travel. What could go wrong?
Cost, for one thing. Some airlines are raising them. Here’s how to avoid paying them.
Southwest of the EarlyBird Check-In
EarlyBird Check-In is popular on the south-West, because it offers passengers the opportunity to move to the front of the boarding line (or in any case closer to the front) is a big deal on an airline that does not assign seats. Unfortunately, two years ago, the price of the south-West of the early bird jumped from $12.50 to $15 per way, and now, for some travelers is the jump again. With effect from Aug. 29, Southwest says the fee will start at $15 and go up to $20 or $25, depending on the length of the route and the popularity of this perk on a particular flight.
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How to avoid paying: be a member of the airline’s Rapid Rewards miles program, and if you are high enough up the status ladder, you can early get in free. Or, for the Southwest branded credit card that allows early boarding on some flights. Or they simply do not pay the charges and take potluck, seat-wise.
It is not that they are going to seat you on the wing.
United better seat fee
According to various reports in the media, United will start charging a fee for choosing the economy seats that are a little closer to the front of the plane. Well, a lot of travelers to sit closer to the front for a variety of reasons, but they have to pay for the privilege? Perhaps, as the American and Delta are reportedly all doing the same thing.
How to avoid paying: I would advise to pay only if you have a very tight connection and need to be among the first to deplane. Otherwise, be sure to check in for your flight at the earliest time possible (24 hours before departure, and set an alarm if you have one), then go to “seat selection” and see what there is available, as United has said that the same seats, if not filled, will be offered for free at check-in. Choose the best free chair that you can find, but keep returning in the case, a better one opens. You may get lucky.
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JetBlue checked bags
According to the influential airline blogger The Points Guy, JetBlue employees receive a memo detailing the multiple fee hikes that are expected to be in force at the end of this month. The changes include an increase in first-checked-bag fee of $25 to $30 per one-way trip; a higher second checked bag fee of $35 to $40; and a rate for pets, which jumps from $100 to $125. Also increase, at least on some routes, alteration costs; the most expensive tickets will increase from $150 to $200.
The solution is? Stuff everything you need in a carry-on bag.
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How to avoid paying: Carry-on bags are still free on JetBlue and that is what you should use; pack carefully and keep everything you need. As for the increased charge for the change, the time to prevent this during the booking process: as sure about your travel dates as possible, but if you must change, do it within 24 hours of your purchase allowances prior to the change of power.
Rick Seaney is an airline travel expert and the co-founder of FareCompare.com an airline ticket comparison shopping website