Sunday, November 11, 2012

Flying High is High Now

There are many low fare airlines also known as discount, budget or no-frills airlines such as Spirit, JetBlue, Southwest and AirTran that offer lower airfares and fewer amenities.  Many charge higher fees for add-on services such as baggage fees, food, priority boarding, etc.

On November 6, 2012, low fare airline Spirit began charging customers $100 from its previous fee of $45 for large carry-on bags brought to the boarding gate no matter what the size.  If your bag is more than 81 inches tall you will be charged $150.  However, checking the first two bags online ranges from $20 to $35 for Fare Club members and $35 - $45 for regular customers.  Checking the first two bags at the airport kiosk ranges from $45 - $55.

Spirit management states the fee is set to encourage customers to check their bags in advance.  In the U.S.  20% of airline revenue is generated from baggage fees.  Adding seats to an aircraft also increases revenue.  Some travelers resent add-on fees charged by airlines.  Many travelers and small business owners are strapped for cash and can’t afford to pay a higher add-on fee.

Travelers fly less during the fall and winter months and some airlines make up the difference by charging more for add-ons during these periods.  However, these fees can be avoided by carefully reading the airlines website before booking a flight and finding the purchasing only the basic services you need.

1.      Carry hand sanitizer and use just before you flight takes off and as soon as your plane lands and use each time you touch a common area.
2.      The less crowded a plane and the more cutbacks in airline services, the less frequently blankets and pillows will be cleaned so bring your own blanket and pillow.
3.      Get a good night's sleep the night before. Take advantage of flights that are more than 2 hours and take a nap during flights. 
4.      Drink plenty of water and eat properly when traveling.
5.      Travelers used to get meals on planes but meals are now replaced with a mini-bag of peanuts that don’t curb a growling stomach to its destination.  Bring your own snacks when traveling.
  1. Many airlines have specials that are not advertised on their website. Call the airline directly and ask about current specials or sign up for their free newsletter or airfare alert service.
  2. Shop around to find the best deal. Visit websites like,,,, or
  3. Try booking your flight at least 2 weeks in advance to save money.
  4. Try booking your flight during the week and avoid flights near holidays. You can also search for flights with one or two connections instead of non-stop flights to save money.
  5. Book flights that fly out of larger airports to save money.
  6. Ask about discounts, some airlines offer discounts to students, senior citizens, government employees, AAA members, and other organizations.
  7. When you see or hear about sales or discounts move quickly to capitalize on the deal because they usually don't last long.  
  8. Talk to friends and neighbors to find out how what deals they got in the past.
  9. Ask for discounts for membership to Diner's Clubs, AAA, AARP, etc. Also check social media sites for discounts.

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