Airline Travel Fees – know what you’re paying for

Todays post is brought to you by Cheapflights.com.au

Airfare prices are at an all-time low as budget airlines frantically compete to offer the lowest prices on the best flights. What many passengers scooping up cheap tickets may be surprised to learn about are the additional charges and fees for what used to be considered a part of the in-flight service. Want to take luggage with you on your holiday? Want an extra pillow for the ride? How about some in-flight entertainment or a refreshing beverage? Depending on whom you fly with – you may have to pay.

Required taxes and surcharges

When it comes to airport taxes, there are plenty of charges that get added on to your original fare quote, especially if you’re flying overseas. Many of the online price quotes that you receive will already include additional taxes, although some advertised fares for airline tickets will have these added on top of the base rate at the time of booking.

Individual charges are levied depending on the airport itself, where you’re going and who you’re travelling with.

–          Passenger Movement – first and foremost, the Australian Government requires a Passenger Movement Charge on all individuals leaving the country – essentially a departure tax. This is in accordance to the Passenger Movement Charge Act 1978 and currently stands at $47 per exit.

–          “Airport taxes” – how much “airport tax” you get charged will depend on the airport you’re flying from and the carrier you’re travelling on. These charges can include fuel levies, security charges, airport improvement and maintenance fees, as well as any insurance costs for the airline that get passed down to the customer. Different airports within Australia have varying rates and they are subject to change. Meanwhile, Sydney airport’s recent hike in its regional surcharges was knocked back by ACCC which is good news for those booking cheap flights to Sydney.

Image via SXC.hu

Budget Airlines – fees to know about

When it comes to booking cheap flights with budget carriers, the in-flight experience is really stripped back to basics. What were once considered standard amenities that came with your reservation, are often now billed as additional charges, including:

–          Baggage check-in fee – many domestic operators are now charging for passengers to check-in even a single piece of luggage on their flights. Costs for baggage check-in vary by carrier. Weight restrictions will also apply.

–          Preferred seats – it used to be that a cute smile and polite demeanour might get you an upgrade or a better seat. However, today, many “preferred seats”, including exit row seats with extra leg room or seats towards the front of the plane, can inquire a surcharge.

–          Online payment and “convenience fees” – want to pay by credit card? Or make your reservation over the phone? Many carriers will now charge a “convenience fee” for these types of transactions.

–          Reserving your seats – do you need an aisle seat to stretch into? Have you done your research on the safest seats for airplane crash? Some airlines will require you to pay a seat reservation fee if you want to claim your spot early. Otherwise, you can go online and reserve your seat for free 24 hours before you fly or take what you can get once you arrive at the airport.

–          On-board extras – many budget airlines are now charging passengers for on-board extras including snacks, meals and beverages and for the use of in-flight entertainment accessories such as headphones. Some sites will let you pre-order your extras online which will cost less than purchasing while on-board.

Image via Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/hradcanska/3417908543/sizes/z/in/photostream/

Other fees

–          Cancellation fee – many sale fares come with a cancellation fee, so if you change your mind about your booking you’ll have to pay extra. Meanwhile, some itineraries won’t let you change at all and the price of the ticket is forfeited if you fail to make your flight. Always make sure you read the terms and conditions before you settle on your booking.

–          Name change fee – bad news for sticky fingers – a mistake on the spelling of your name could be costly. Always double and triple check the spelling and make sure the name on your ticket matches the ID you present at the counter.

What other charges are you aware of when you fly?

By Being aware of the fees that you can be charged, you can make sure that you really do get the cheapest fare possible, so that your extra cash can be saved for spending on other travel expenses such as budget hotels.

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One Response to “Airline Travel Fees – know what you’re paying for”

  1. Slava says:

    Yikes! That’s a huge amount of “hidden” fees.

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