Fight Extra Airline Fees For Summer Flights
Memorial Day marks the start of summer travel, which means Americans will be scrambling to find the best airfare rates for a weekend getaway. NY1's Valarie D'Elia filed this report.
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Baggage and ticket change fees will continue to be the air travelers' unwelcome companions this summer.
In fact, airlines make millions upon millions of dollars in fees above and beyond the revenue they earn from your plane ticket.
"Consumers have to realize that for years now they have been paying less for airfares than has cost the airline to provide the flight," said George Hobica of Airfare Watchdog.
Hence, the extra fees to make up the difference.
"People can avoid the fees not just by flying the airlines with lower fees like JetBlue and Southwest, but get one of the airline credit cards from AA and UA that have no annual fee and include free checked bags and also include priority boarding," Hobica said. "The other way to avoid fees is to become a loyal Frequent Flyer."
In some cases, fees are now being levied for aisle and window seats, limiting options for families who don't want to pay extra to sit together.
"The airline say they are going to do what they need to get families together but they can't guarantee it," says AP airline reporter Scott Mayerowitz. "The gate agent might ask someone to switch seats, the flight attendant might ask someone to switch seats or you might have to say, 'Hey, can I buy you a drink if you switch for my kid.'"
Another strategy is to book early when inventory is greatest or try to find seats together at the last minute.
"Start looking four or five days before your flight," Mayerowitz says. "That's when people start to get upgraded and the seat map opens up as they are pulled from coach into first class."
Finally, when it comes to extra fees, it might pay to shift your mindset about the value of flying the friendly skies.
"Maybe consumers have to rethink what a low airfare is," Hobica said.