When boarding an airplane, of popular airlines to be particular, expect that outrageous surcharges will be thrown upon you, especially now that they have imposed four other hefty fees-payments for customers’ first checked bag, for drinkable water and even for free award tickets.
Airlines don’t want you to know this, but there are other ways to avoid the newly imposed airline fees. Surcharges are not inevitable. These are some tips to avoid being duped:
*Bottled water – Yes, airlines will begin charging for bottled water. The trick is to bring an empty water bottle through the Transportation Security Administration screening area and fill it at the closest water fountain in the terminal. Liquids aren’t allowed through a checkpoint, but there’s no rule against empty containers. There have been reports of vigilant screeners confiscating bottles, but still, it’s worth giving a try.
*Checked Luggage – Gone are the good ol’ days when two or three bags aren’t charged, but now, it’s history. Airlines insist they need extra money to cover their fuel costs, but this probably has almost nothing to do with higher energy prices. Travel experts recommend you send your luggage to your destination using either an overnight service or through one of the pricey luggage shipping companies. Now think, why ship your luggage when you can still carry it on the plane for free? If you have to carry a second bag, either fly on an airline with a free first-bag allowance, Continental and Delta Airlines have this, or send the bag by second-day mail. A $15 charge for a bag might be a bargain compared with what the postal services charges. Just do the math.
*Airlines also have increased their award ticket fees, adding co-payments for certain awards and raised the number of miles required for free tickets. Solution? Cash in your frequent flier miles before the deadline or use your awards for something else. Award miles don’t appreciate over time and lose its value. So, hoarding your points is not helpful. If you’re really a frequent traveler, then this might be a good time to focus your loyalty on a single program. The top-tier elite customers are exempt from many of these new charges.
*Unaccompanied minors – Fees for unaccompanied minors have also increased. Again, many airlines blamed the rise in these fees on higher fuel costs. It’s absurd how a featherweight unaccompanied minor have something to do with rising fuel costs. So, if you’re sending two kids to visit relatives, you might as well come along. You’ll pay the airline the equivalent in unaccompanied minor fees if you decide to stay home. And, you’ll be able to keep your eyes on your junior.
But, of course, the best way is to fly on an airline that doesn’t have the said fees, like Southwest Airlines, allows for two free checked bags on their famous Boeing 737. JetBlue still serves free drinks and snacks and charges $25 less than the big airlines for unaccompanied minors.