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Travel Tips: A Guide to Dealing with Airline Booking Fees

Tips For Cheap Travel FlightsWhether you’re planning a holiday vacation or finally taking that trip you’ve planned since childhood, changes in airline booking fees can put a damper on your plans and, most importantly, your travel budget. Learn about the various airline fees plaguing modern travelers and how to navigate them by reviewing this helpful guide.


Most adults remember a time when 1-2 carry-on bags and up to two checked bags were free of charge for travelers. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. In addition to imposing weight and content limits on baggage, some airlines now charge fees (some up to $50 per bag) for each checked bag. and more if luggage is overweight. Before booking a flight, review the airline’s baggage fees to ensure you’ve budgeted accordingly.

Preferred Seating

Are you someone who enjoys flying in first class, sitting in a window seat, or boarding early? Expect to be met with steep fees for the additional convenience. Some airlines charge up to $250 for preferred seating, while others will impose a $40 fee for early boarding. If planning to request these accommodations, research associated fees and add this amount to your travel budget.

Printing and Booking Fees

If you need to print a boarding pass or book your flight over the phone, be prepared to incur charges for each service. While the fees are nominal when compared to others, they quickly add up when multiple people are traveling. Some airlines, like Spirit Airlines and Delta, add fees of $10-25 for boarding-pass printing and booking via phone.

Fees for Airline Rewards

Savvy consumers strategically choose credit cards that offer travel miles or airline rewards, but are often unaware that airlines reserve the right to impose a fee for use. For example, American Airlines charges $75 for using air rewards less than 21 days before scheduled departure and add $25 if booking is completed on the phone. Carefully research fees associated with reward use before choosing an airline.

Children and Pets

Are you planning to send your child to a relative for vacation? If choosing air travel, review fees incurred for unaccompanied minors before booking travel. Children traveling without an adult require additional supervision from airline and airport personnel, and are susceptible to fees as a result. Similarly, flying with a pet requires special accommodations and will incur additional fees, particularly if carried on to the plane instead of checked. Per situation, plan to spend a $150 or more, depending on the airline.

In-Flight Luxuries

Flying to your destination is an attractive option, as you’re able to focus on remote work and stay productive. A little-known secret of the airline industry is the high fees imposed for in-flight luxuries, like internet access. Carefully inspect an airline’s in-flight internet policy to estimate charges incurred browse the web while in flight.

Plan Ahead

When combined with cancellation or change fees, which can alone exceed $300, booking fees can add a significant sum to your travel budget, compromising your ability to enjoy the trip. Before choosing an airline, carefully review potential fees and, if possible, choose an airline with competitively low rates.

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