In the age of eBay, Amazon and Craigslist, consumers are looking for bargains on everything they buy – and that includes airfare. So it’s little wonder that discount airlines seem to be popping up all over.
Time was, when you bought your air ticket, you not only got an advance seat assignment, you also knew the price included checked bags, carry-ons, and in most cases an in-flight meal. It’s true. You can ask your Grandma.
Then came de-regulation, rising fuel costs, and increased competition, and the old rules no longer applied. Airlines were liberated, consumers were appalled, and discount airlines jumped in to fill the breach.
But, as personal finance expert Holly Johnson told the frugal-living website WiseBread, the hidden fees on a cheaper flight can cost as much as the fare itself, making it tough to know what you are actually getting for your money.
Johnson found one fare on a discount line from Cincinnati to Fort Lauderdale for $122 round trip – but the price included almost nothing. When she added in the fees for bringing a carry-on aboard, getting a roomier seat with an aisle option, paying with a credit card, and getting an agent-printed boarding pass, the cost rose to $238 – or nearly double.
Smart consumers, she warns, need to do their homework before clicking on ‘Buy Ticket.’
– Compare the base price for your trip on several airlines – the majors as well as the discounted ones.
– Know what is – and what is not – included in your fare, and choose the options that are important to you, whether it’s checking a bag, more legroom, or whatever.
– Once you know the charges for these perks that will be charged on top of the base fare, you can compare prices with other airlines on an apples to apples basis.
– The same thing applies when booking international flights. While these fares typically do include meals, they frequently charge for checked bags and other options just as domestic airlines do.
Published with permission from RISMedia.