Works Like Crazy

Sneaky Ways To Save Money On Plane Flights

That good deal you think you got on a flight may not be as good as you think once the airlines ding you with multiple hidden and sneaky fees.

Sure, we understand that the airline industry is extremely competitive and that it's better for the airlines to make consumers think they're actually getting a better deal than they are to get them to book a flight, but it's still sneaky, and customers are getting mad.

Here's how to avoid them, as well as fight back with a couple tricks of your own.

1) Get By With Carry-On Online If They Charge For Checked Bags - Some airlines allow one checked bag and one carry-on (plus laptop or other small item), while some airlines even charge for the first bag checked. Make sure you check to see what the policy is of any airlines you're flying on, because a checked bag may cost anywhere from $25 to $100 more than you were expecting.

If an airline charges for the first checked bag and it's feasible, see if you can fit everything in your carry-on bag. Most of us have gotten in the habit of traveling with more than we need to, and it really is possible scale down and still pack the essentials.

2) The "Luggage Shuffle" -Find out what the maximum checked baggage weight is ahead of time for your airline and check your baggage weight at home. The easiest way is to set up the scale yourself, then get back on holding your packed bag and subtract the difference. If your existing suitcase is extra heavy, consider purchasing a newer lighter one, it could be well worth your while.

If you're traveling with friends or family and one bag is over and another is under, swap items until they're both under. On a flight to Europe last year, it was an extra $100 for a weight overage... One of our bags was 3 pounds over, the other was 5 pounds under. We switched items around and, wa-la!

These luggage fees are serious business, by the way. From what we've seen, Delta is the worst offender, and they made an extra $952 million dollars last year for charging for baggage, and the average for United and American Airlines was over $600 million apiece in extra fees. That's a lot of money.

3) Check extra carry-on luggage at the gate. You can usually show up with extra carry-on luggage at the gate and they'll normally stow your excess carry-on for you at no charge. The worst thing that could happen is that you'll be charged extra for your checked bag, which is what would have happened if you'd checked it in the first place anyway.

4) When you're checking prices online for a group flight (2 or more people), once you get the total amount quote, also do a price check for one person to go on the flight. When you do a search for a group, whatever the highest ticket price is for one of the people is the price it will show for all, even if a lower price may have been available for somebody in the group. If you notice a discrepancy, book the flight as individuals to get the savings.

4) Don't pay an extra fee to book your seats ahead of time. This one's really annoying, they charge $10 to choose your seats in advance. Our recommendation is to log in exactly 24 hours before your flight (which is the first time you can pick your specific seats if you haven't paid extra) and book them then. It's only $10 a seat, but unless you consider it really critical, $10 is $10.

Armed with these tricks, you save some money on your flights, and if you want to get comparison quotes on flights, click here.

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