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Posted by George Hobica on Thursday, November 19, 2009
Here we list some of the various fees that airlines use to line their coffers while they continue to keep many airfares ridiculously low. These fees are subject to change and you should always contact the airline directly before planning a trip to be absolutely certain what they'll be charging you. We do our best to keep these charts up to date; please leave us a comment below if you believe something isn't quite right! And thanks.
Frequent Flyer Fees
It used to be that free frequent flyer tickets were really free. But not anymore. Not only are airlines increasing the number of miles required, but they're constantly adding new fees for issuing tickets, changing them, not using them, requesting them on short notice, and flying confirmed same day stand by.
As usual, the airline with the fewest fees in this regard is Southwest. Southwest issues frequent flyer awards as soon as you earn them and you have up to a year to use the award. If an award has expired, you can pay $50 to extend its validity up to one additional year as long as the award isn't more than one year past its original validity.
In addition to the fees listed here, you can expect to pay taxes, passenger facility charges, and the September 11 security fee, along with other government imposed surcharges. And if you're flying internationally with a child age 2 or under, even if it's sitting in your lap, you may be hit with a charge of 10% of your fare plus even fuel surcharges, and that's even if you're traveling on a "free" ticket (on a business class ticket to Australia, that might make you think twice about flying "free").
Fees listed were accurate at time of posting but can change at any moment, and probably will. Please comment if you believe that you've found a change or inaccuracy (or just to vent) and we'll check it out.
Keep in mind, too, that depending on your frequent flyer membership level, some of these fees may not apply to you, or they may be lower than shown. Updated June 5, 2010.
Checked Bag Fees
Here we list, airline by airline, fees for checked bags on major US airlines. These fees are for domestic economy class travel (which in some cases includes Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and Canada) only and may be higher on international flights.
There are all kinds of exceptions to these fees, especially for certain classes of frequent flyers and military personnel. These fees are cumulative and are double for round-trip travel. They are subject to change and were accurate to the best of our knowledge as of Jan. 22, 2010.
If you're a heavy packer, you'll want to fly with Airtran, Alaska, Frontier and Southwest, even if there's a cheaper fare on another ailrine.
See also: shipping services (FedEx, UPS, etc) vs. the airlines.
Other Airline Fees
Here we list, for most airlines, fees for ticket changes (non refundable fares); booking fares in person or by phone, kids flying solo, bringing a pet into the cabin, and booking fares other than online. As you can see, Southwest has the lowest and fewest fees, followed by other low cost carriers such as Airtran and Spirit. Note that most of these fees, unless otherwise noted, are for domestic flights; fees for international services may be higher. Last revision: Jan 24, 2010.
See also: New airline frequent flyer program fees
Posted by Tracy Stewart on Wednesday, November 18, 2009
New York JFK to San Jose, Costa Rica $197 round-trip, incl. all taxes
You'll find this fare available for travel on up to 5 days out of the month, through April.
Posted by Tracy Stewart on Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Los Angeles to Cairo, Egypt $623 round-trip, incl. all taxes
Posted by Tracy Stewart on Monday, November 16, 2009
New York JFK to Cairo, Egypt $487 round-trip, incl. all taxes
This fare is available on Aeroflot, for travel February 19 through March 1. We've also found Los Angeles to Cairo for $572 round-trip, incl. all taxes on the same dates.
Posted by Tracy Stewart on Monday, November 16, 2009
Here's a question we recently put to our friends on Twitter: What's the best (and nicest!) way to go about asking a parent to intervene when their child is kicking your seat back? And please note, we said the nicest way, so put away that fistful of Ritalin, Señor Snarkypants.
Some folks might feel uncomfortable with the idea of bypassing the parent and addressing the child directly, although that's what one reader suggested. Another Twitterer thought it best to involve a flight attendant, and let them ask on your behalf. "We're timid," they said.
And are you above bribes? Would it feel smarmy to offer the parent a prepaid gift card? Maybe buy them a drink? What would you do? Feel free to peruse the comments thus far on Twitter and Facebook, and tell us how you'd handle the situation below.
Categories: Air Travel
Posted by Jason on Sunday, November 15, 2009
Signed up for an Airfarewatchdog Fare Alert, but in need of a few pointers on how to book these great deals from Airfarewatchdog? You’ve come to the right place! As you know, we have three great email alerts to help you find the lowest airfares. Our City-to-City Alerts, our Fare Alerts from Departure Cities, and our Fare Alerts to Cities have helped thousands of people find airfares to/from their favorite airports. (If you haven't signed up for our email alerts, click on “Fare Alerts” in the menu on the left of any page on our website.)
1. Want to book those incredible deals you receive from Airfarewatchdog? Here's how.
For City-to-City Alerts: Click on the link "See Fare Details."
For Fare Alerts from Departure Cities or Fare Alerts to Cities: Scroll down the list of cities and find the airfare that interests you. Click on the price or the "See All Details" link we provide for each fare.
An example of a Fare Alert from Departure City:
An example of a Fare Alert to City:
2. The Airfare Details for the selected route will now appear on your screen. The details may include information such as the name of the Airline(s) offering the fare, the Travel by date, the minimum number of days Advance Purchase required, the days of the week Available for travel, and Our Notes which provide even more relevant, helpful info.
3. If you would like to book this fare, you'll see two ways to find seats at the price we've shown you.
Check When Fare is Available Using Flexible Dates (and even when they're not flexible): Quick links to the websites where we actually found the fare will be posted here. You'll be able to search for available dates on these sites that show clickable calendars of fares or multiple dates on one page. Much easier and faster than entering one date at a time!
Note: One of the good reasons why we recommend this option first is that in the course of the day, another airline may match the price or even post a lower one. Or the original airline listed may sell-out or decide to change the price. Looking here first will keep you on top of things.
Check If Fare is Available for Your Dates: A convenient search where you can enter specific dates for the fare. Please disable any pop-up blockers to use this option and note that this will link you to multiple booking sites. Remember, not every date is available for every fare. Flexible date searches (see above) always increase your chances of nabbing the low prices you see.
Please note that Airfarewatchdog.com is not a travel agency and we do not sell fares or book travel. We only list low fares that we've found. The booking happens on another site.
4. Once you have selected a link or entered dates, you will be sent directly to the airline or online travel agency where you can start checking availability and choosing your flight.
5. Continue the booking process at the company's website until your airfare is booked and confirmed. Print your confirmation page when you're done, please! Sometimes confirmation emails get stuck in a SPAM filter or bounced away by your email provider, so do print. Better safe, than sorry.
There. Now you're ready to go and get the great fares we've found for you. Happy Hunting!
Categories: Airfarewatchdog News
Posted by Tracy Stewart on Friday, November 13, 2009
We've heard from a lot of frustrated travelers who can't find a decent fare home for Thanksgiving. And whenever we ask what days they're looking to travel, they typically answer Wednesday through Sunday. That's when our face falls and we belly-sob into the keyboard, because if there's one thing we harp on incessantly here at AFWD (and really, there are lots of things, but this one is a biggie), it's the importance of being flexible with your travel dates. And that goes double during the holidays. Everyone wants to depart after work on Wednesday Nov. 25 and return the following Sunday Nov. 29. That's why the airlines jack up the fares on these dates, and around these dates.
But hey, don't get discouraged. And puhleeez don't buy into the holiday-fare-panic-piece that the newspapers run every year telling you that fares between, say, Chicago and New York are $540 and you should buy immediately. Sure, holiday fares will always be a little higher than the norm, but if fares are too high and no one is buying, the airlines will lower them. And that's exactly what we're seeing this year.
For example, we've been monitoring holiday fares between Orlando and New York. A few weeks ago, this fare was between $400 and $500. And sure enough, the "experts" advised folks to buy now or else. Not to wag our we-told-you-so finger, but we had a hunch that these fares wouldn't sell, and counseled people to keep on shopping around. And today? We found Orlando to New York for just $237 round-trip, including all taxes, leaving Wednesday the 25th and returning Sunday the 29th. How about that, huh? Not bad!
Posted by Tracy Stewart on Friday, November 13, 2009
Atlanta to Salt Lake City $151 round-trip, incl. all taxes
Travel Monday-Saturday, through February 10.
Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, November 12, 2009
San Francisco to Ft Lauderdale $25 one-way, incl. all taxes
This is part of the previously mentioned JetBlue sale, good for travel only on November 17.
Posted by Tracy Stewart on Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Portland, Maine to Jacksonville, Florida $190 round-trip, incl. all taxes
This fare is valid for travel on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with a 10 day advance purchase required.
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