First Person: I Avoid Airline Fees at All Costs

Yahoo Contributor Network

What is it with fees these days? When it comes to irritating costs, airline fees can be the worst. Not only is travel a potentially stressful experience for business people and tourists, but it can very frustrating when new fees are being added all the time. Many of these fees did not exist in past years, and consumers know this. Obviously life and business have changed in the modern age, but this doesn't change the fact that travel is expensive enough as it is. I work very hard to avoid these fees.

Reading the fine print

It starts with doing a little research and reading the fine print. I didn't really understand the whole fee thing until I took a one-time flight on a "discount" airline that will remain nameless. The ticket itself was extremely affordable (or so I thought), but once I picked my days to fly and clicked to the next screen, there were suddenly a number of pre-populated fields on the website. The design of the website was very slick and it almost appeared that the fees were required. Thankfully, I figured out that I could unclick certain boxes. I didn't need priority boarding and since I was flying alone I didn't really need a seat assignment ahead of time. Fees avoided! Don't even get me started on baggage fees. Eventually I may just mail my luggage to myself.

Build it into the cost

I understand why the airlines are doing this. They want to keep basic ticket prices at a certain level so that they appear competitive compared to other airlines. Then, they charge all of these individual fees because once a traveler has bought a ticket, they are essentially stuck. Again, slick. Or should I say, slimy? Unfortunately, this strategy is actually more irritating. Can the airlines just build the fees into the cost of the ticket? Let us check bags again and do not add all of these extra costs.

Figuring out people like me

Unfortunately, airlines are good at business for a reason. Eventually, they figure out people like me. They figure out that I maximize my carry-on space and avoid checked bag fees at all costs. Hence the fees that some airlines are starting to charge for carry-on bags. Will this ever stop? Will consumers rebel or are we destined to be trapped by this growing list of fees?

I will continue to strategize.

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