With vacation season upon us, you’re probably already all packed up and ready to take on all that the world has to offer. You’ve found a great deal for a hotel room, but before you purchase those plane tickets, know that airlines tend to add numerous fees to that ticket. Here is a quick rundown of a handful of airline fees to watch for.
1. Reserving your flight in-person or on the phone: $5 to $25
The vast majority of flyers books tickets through the Internet. It’s convenient, it’s easy, and it takes a few minutes, but talking to an actual person will cost you. A simple ten minute call with an airline could cost you up to $25. The worst part: that fee applies even when the website is down.
2. Getting a refund for a reduced fare: $25 to $200
You bought a TV from your average retail store. A week later, the price of that TV goes down. That retail store should give you a refund without much of an issue. Even Apple, known for releasing new models and lowering prices frequently, offers store credit when prices drop. It’s a simple service that any shopper can appreciate and take advantage of.
Airlines, however, don’t go by the same rules. Some airlines, especially international carriers, won’t refund you a penny. Others will actually charge you up to $100 for a refund for both domestic and international flights. This “administrative fee” often defeats the whole point of getting a refund in the first place.
3. Charging for babies on laps: $0 to 10 percent of adult fare
Just because you’re going on a trip doesn’t mean baby needs to stay at home. She may not be old enough for her own seat, but she can ride just as comfortably on your lap. As it turns out, your lap will cost her.
For international flights, the fee for infants is generally 10 percent of the full-priced ticket. On a $1500 fare, you’ll have to pay $150 just to hold a child in your lap. For domestic flights, you’ll have to check with the airlines. American Airlines, United, and several others don’t charge a fee for infants under the age of two. Others may charge as much as $10. However, your infant may have to pay the fuel surcharge on both domestic and international flights.
4. Checked luggage: $0 to $400 each way
A few airlines allow you to check your first bag for free. Others are not as accomodating, charging as much as $25 for a single checked bag.
Of course, that’s not even taking into consideration the fees for multiple bags and overweight or oversized luggage. For instance, checking an overweight bag with United on an international flight could cost you up to $400 each way. Choose your airline wisely and try to reduce the amount of stuff you bring to minimize the fee. Better yet, if it’s a short enough trip, try to limit yourself to your carry-on and personal item.
5. Bringing a pet into the cabin: $69 to $125 each way
You’re on vacation and you want to share it with your favorite four-legged friend. Having Fluffy in the cabin with you gives you that extra peace of mind. Unfortunately, having your dog or cat with you comes at a price. Even though Fido won’t be carrying bags or taking advantage of the in-flight snacks, you’ll still have to pay for them to be with you. AirTran charges the lowest at $69 each way while most other airlines charge $100 each way. United charges the most at $125 each way, which means you might be paying more for your pet than for your own roundtrip ticket.
If you think checking your pet into cargo is a cheaper option, think again: the price for cargo pet tickets range from $100 to over $1000, based on your pet’s weight and the size of his crate. Check with your airline and know that they all have size and weight limits, and most airlines restrict cabin travel to species of cats, dogs, and birds.