Useful Tips for Booking Holiday Travel
Factor Airline Fees into Travel Costs
The airline fee boom is only getting worse, meaning what were once free amenities must now be factored in as part of the overall cost of travel. Bag fees account for a bulk of revenue for airlines, which can mean bad news for travelers. Bag fees raked in $2.7 billion in revenue last year, and fares for domestic flights have increased about 4.5 percent this year, with an average ticket costing about $375. Fare costs have increased 14 times this year, the most recent hike occurring in mid-October when Southwest Airlines’ increase of $4 to $10 per round trip was matched by all major U.S.-based carriers.
Checked bag fees remain the most widespread concern on holiday flights, and you’ll have to consider, for example, while an American or United flight may turn out the lowest rate quote on paper, if you’re going to be checking a bag, flying with budget carriers like JetBlue or Southwest may be the more cost-effective option. Neither charges $15 to $25 for your first-checked bag as other airlines do. Look into shipping gifts ahead of time rather than carrying them onboard; it may be more economical considering first-checked bag fees and hefty second-bag fees cost at least $35. Those with the Delta Skymiles American Express card may check their first bag free on Delta flights, and pass on the benefit to up to nine other people on the same reservation. Also strive to incorporate simple money-savers into your in-flight routine – bringing a bagged lunch, inflatable pillow, or headset can save you from doling out extra dough onboard.