Updated May 27, 2012

Real Cost of Flying

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Nowadays, many airlines are offering special promotions to help ensure their seats are filled. The costs of some of these flights seem fantastic, with many of them being cheaper than the cost of gas to drive to the same destination.

However, before you jump on that next offer that’s sent to your email inbox, take some time to read the fine print and consider the full costs of the promotional airfare—the true cost of the flight might be much more than you think!

(Click Image to Enlarge)
Infographics: Real Cost of Flying
Infographics: Real Cost of Flying © CreditDonkey

Booking the flight

Do some research before you book your next airplane ticket. Those extra minutes can save you some real money!

Third party websites often feature reduced fares. But before you click the mouse to reserve your seat, review the booking fees that the site is going to charge you. When you add in those fees, you may actually pay less when you call up the airline and book directly through them.

You’ll also want to make sure your trip dates are set in stone. If you decide to alter your itinerary after you make your initial reservations, you will have to pay—big! Airlines now charge up to $150 to alter the details of your flight.

At the airport

Many travelers assume that once they’ve paid for their tickets, that’s it when it comes to the cost of the flight. But, sadly, they’re wrong. When budgeting for your trip, you’ll want to remember to include airport parking, food and drink and baggage fees.

It used to be that passengers automatically got one or two checked bags for free. But nowadays, most major airlines will charge a minimum of $25 for the first bag and $35 for the second. Some are even charging passengers for bringing larger carry-ons on the flight. So be sure to research your airline’s policy before you pack.

In the air

Food, drinks, and even pillows and blankets now have a price tag on some airlines. If you will want any of these items, be sure to bring cash with you on the plane because that is typically the only payment method that will be accepted.

How to truly save

Before you panic about all of the extra costs that are associated with flying, rest assured that there are still some practical ways you can save on your next flight!

First, take advantage of the numerous airline miles credit cards that are now available to consumers. These cards allow you to accumulate points that you can cash in for plane tickets and other perks like seat upgrades. While many programs do have a ticket booking fee, you will still save quite a bit of green in the long run.

You should also consider using a credit card that has travel protections like complimentary baggage insurance, rental car insurance and roadside assistance. These perks will help cover unplanned expenses that sometimes sprout up when your trips don’t go as planned. While it’s always a good idea to allocate these unplanned events into your trip budget, it’s nice knowing that you will be reimbursed.

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Comments about Real Cost of Flying

  • Kay Lynn @ Bucksome Boomer from California
    on July 7, 2011 4:44 AM said:

    I really like your infographic. I think fees for customer service are absolutely ridiculous. Can you imagine any other business charging a customer for the privilege of buying something from them?

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