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Travel Truth: Airline 101
  • Posted Jan 12, 2016
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Every day it seems airlines are finding new ways to pinch a penny from customers’ wallets. From carry-on fees to carriers, like Allegiant, charging for anything more than a cup of ice, the days of luxury domestic travel are far gone.

Hidden fees can easily increase a ticket quote over $100, but with the keyword being hidden, what is a responsible traveler to do? With the price tag to travel being more than just a ticket, it’s necessary to consider the following when booking a flight.


There are a wide range of luggage fees, dependent on the airline. “Budget” carriers like Allegiant, Frontier, and Spirit charge between $20 and $60 per carry-on bag, while most full-service airlines like United, Delta, and American only charge for checked luggage. Southwest Airlines takes the cake, as all passengers are given two complimentary checked bags, plus a personal item and carry-on.

Seat Selection

An extensive study from Popular Mechanics found that passengers near the tail-end of a plane are 40 percent more likely to survive a crash than those in the first few rows. Fortunately for patrons, seats near the rear are typically less expensive than those in the front. Airlines like Allegiant, Virgin, and Frontier charge for any self-selected seat, while United, Delta, Virgin, JetBlue, and American only charge for premium seats towards the front of the aircraft and exit rows. Southwest Airlines employs a unique boarding process, allowing passengers to sit where they’d like – according to boarding group.

Food & Beverage

United Airlines made headlines in late 2015 with the re-introduction of complimentary snacks, however other full-service airlines haven’t yet decided to be as generous. While the majority of airlines offer complimentary beverages, select budget airlines like Allegiant charge between $2.00 and $4.00 for a soft drink. Alcoholic beverages are available for purchase across all carriers, with the exception of Virgin – which offers complimentary beer and wine on domestic flights.

The Fine Print

Every airline, with the exception of one, charges for ticketing changes. If you’re unsure of your travel schedule, purchase your ticket on Southwest – which will only charge you the fare difference (if applicable). The majority of domestic airlines charge a $25.00 “convenience fee” to book travel via phone, so opt for Internet or in-person purchases, if possible!

Vacationing is ultimately about relaxation. Many of these fees are impossible to avoid, but being aware of these “surprise fees” can certainly assist in the ease of travel!

What “travel truths” do you have?

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