21 Things Airlines Do to Charge You More Without You Noticing

Airlines have mastered the art of the upsell, subtly squeezing every extra dollar out of travelers. Here’s how they do it, often without you even realizing you’re spending more.

1. Basic Economy Traps

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The allure of low headline fares gets you on board, but once you’re there, you’ll pay extra for things that used to be free—like choosing your seat or checking a bag.

2. Seat Selection Fees

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Want to ensure you sit next to your travel companion? That’ll cost you. Airlines charge a premium for advanced seat selection, even for middle seats.

3. Baggage Fees

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Checked bag fees are the norm, but the costs can skyrocket if your bag exceeds weight limits. Always weigh your luggage before you head to the airport.

4. Change Fees

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Need to change your flight? Many airlines charge hefty fees for changing your booking—sometimes more than the cost of the ticket itself.

5. Meal Purchases

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Gone are the days of complimentary in-flight meals on many flights. Now, you might pay for what used to be standard, especially on domestic flights.

6. Priority Boarding

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Want to avoid the stress of finding overhead bin space? Airlines offer priority boarding for a fee, tempting passengers to pay more to board earlier.

7. In-Flight Wi-Fi

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Staying connected at 30,000 feet isn’t cheap. In-flight Wi-Fi can come with a high cost, particularly for longer flights or faster speeds.

8. Printing Boarding Passes

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Forgot to print your boarding pass? Some budget airlines charge a fee just to print your boarding pass at the airport.

9. Credit Card Booking Fees

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Booking with a credit card, which used to be standard without extra cost, now sometimes includes a processing fee, adding to your total.

10. Entertainment Options

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While some airlines offer free movies and games, others have started charging for in-flight entertainment, especially on personal devices.

11. Blankets and Pillows

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Feeling chilly? Some airlines now charge for the once-complimentary blanket and pillow, making comfort a paid luxury.

12. Travel Insurance Upsell

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During booking, airlines often offer travel insurance. It’s easy to click ‘yes’ without checking if it’s a good deal or even necessary.

13. Choosing the Exit Row

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Those extra-legroom seats, especially exit rows, come at a premium. Want more space? You’ll have to pay up.

14. Frequent Flier Program Fees

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Joining an airline’s frequent flier program might be free, but maximizing points or booking award travel can come with hidden costs.

15. Onboard Snacks and Beverages

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Even water or coffee can carry a price tag on some flights, especially on low-cost carriers.

16. Administrative Fees

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Canceled your flight? Watch out for “administrative fees” when getting a refund, which can eat up a significant portion of what you’re owed.

17. Unaccompanied Minor Service

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Sending a child alone on a flight? There’s a substantial service fee for unaccompanied minors, which covers extra supervision.

18. Pet Travel Fees

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Traveling with a pet isn’t cheap. Airlines charge high fees for pets traveling in the cabin or the cargo hold.

19. Seat Upgrade Offers

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Last-minute seat upgrades can be tempting, especially when airlines offer them at check-in or at the gate for an “exclusive” price.

20. Overweight Baggage Charges

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A few pounds over can lead to big fees. Overweight baggage fees are significantly higher than standard checked baggage.

21. Carbon Offset Charges

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Some airlines offer to offset the carbon emissions of your flight for a fee. It’s positioned as an environmental choice, but it also adds to your cost.

The Fine Print in the Sky

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Airlines have turned fee collection into an art form, with charges that can make your head spin faster than jet lag. Next time you book, keep these tricks in mind, or your wallet might fly lighter than you’d like.

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The post21 Things Airlines Do to Charge You More Without You Noticing first appeared on Liberty & Wealth.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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