17 easy ways to avoid airline fees, from waiting to add bags to checking in late | Airlines

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Booking a flight with a budget airline looks set to remain confusing and laborious. The UK Government has excluded optional airline add-ons from its crackdown on drip pricing – the practise of applying additional charges after the initial price for a service is shown. And, so, the ever-shrinking allowances for free carry-on luggage, charges for families to sit together and fees for printing out boarding passes at the airport will continue.

The airline industry made $102bn from ancillaries such as these in 2022 – up from $42.6bn in 2013. Bernard Lavelle, principal aviation consultant at BL Aviation Consulting, previously told i: “Ticket price is still the main revenue earner, but ancillary revenue helps to generate the profits.”

Unbundling charges makes it harder for passengers to compare prices.

It is left to travellers to try to navigate, and avoid, these add-on fees as best as we can. Seven years as a budget holiday expert have allowed me to ty out many techniques for reducing flight costs and beating airlines at their own game.

Here are the tactics I’ve found most effective.


Review airline policies

No two airlines have the same approach to luggage allowances, and some update their rules more frequently than others. Each time you fly, check the airline’s policy before you book, before you pack and before you travel to the airport.

First, find out the categories of luggage, which are, typically, small cabin bag, large cabin bag and checked luggage. In the past, most airlines allowed each passenger to take a larger cabin bag on board,…

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> Cheap Flights and Hotels!
Several ways to buy cheap airline tickets.
- Start searching at least 2 months in advance and sign up for email alerts so you'll always be notified when flight prices drop.
- Budget airlines typically offer the cheapest flights.
- Save money by taking your flight early in the morning or late at night.
- Consider flying on a weekday instead of a weekend.
- Use an aggregator site to compare prices across airlines.
- Once you have found the best trip, select it on the aggregator site and move to the airline’s direct website to book your tickets. Some aggregators allow you to book the ticket through their website, but there may be an additional service fee.
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