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Remember back in the day when you used to take a flight and they would serve you a meal?  Roughly 30 minutes into the flight, a very nice stewardess (before they were called flight attendants) would politely ask you what you would like to eat and you would anticipate your “airline meal”, even though people joked about how bad it was.  It was honestly the thought that counted.  Ok, now fast forward to 2008, the year of the gas gouge and consider what the airline experience has become. We have to now be subject to a ton of new fees and charges that are affecting, not only your in-flight experience, but the bottom line of your airline charges.

Security/911 Surcharge

If it isn’t bad enough that our flights are now custom-fitted to weed out terrorists, rather than simply transport people from destination to destination, the financial effects of 9/11 have been so far reaching, that we may never fully be able to calculate it.  The fee is roughly $2.50 and is used to fund the number of initiatives that were implemented after that memorable day.

 

Baggage Fee

The latest wave of frustration has arisen for this very reason.  Baggage fees are raging from $10 to $25 these days, and what was once considered a given just a few months ago is now hiking up the price to travel.  This, of course, will affect those who travel for longer periods of time, which usually occurs during summer months.  In addition, to longer periods of travel, this tends to also affect overseas travelers as well.  

Fuel Surcharges

People make a conscious decision to travel by airplane to save time and many do so to avoid the high fuel costs at the pump.  Fuel surcharges were somewhat negligible when crude oil prices were under $100 per barrel, but these days fuel surcharges are taking up a larger percentage of the ticket price.  For example British Airways has increased their surcharges from $6 per flight to $70.  If there is any consolation, the US Department of Transportation requires airlines to disclose the fuel surcharges.  And even though there is no way to avoid it, it allows you to at least see the effect on your ticket.

Seat Selection

I am not the tallest guy in the world, but I usually like to sit in the aisle when flying because it at least allows me to stretch my legs out from time to time.  I do this even though I know my knee will get pretty banged up by a couple of over-excited flight attendants.  However, now if I want to give my legs a little ease, then I will have to fork over an extra $15 to do so.  Some airlines are charging even more if you request seats in the exit aisle (which provide more leg room).

 

It is so important to know how your final airline bill is being computed and there are a few ways to help chip down the price:

1.    Try flying into airports that are not undergoing redevelopment if you can, it can add from $4.50 to over $80 per flight.

2.    Take the seat assigned to you, especially if the flight is relatively short.

3.    Pack wisely and utilize carry on luggage for short stays 

4.    Try reserving your flight on the airline’s website to avoid booking fees by travel supersites. 

 

All in all, there are some things you can do to save some money while getting to your destination.  While the airlines, nickel and dime you, you can also return the favor.