Cheap flights: How to avoid being caught out by hidden fees
Cheap flights continue to reduce in cost as airlines lower prices for passengers.
With tickets as cheap as £4.99 from the UK, travelling abroad has never been so affordable.
To keep up profits airlines are instead charging for other aspects of a flight such as luggage, seat reservations and meals, which can quickly increase the cost of a plane ticket.
Also known as ‘ancillary fees’, the revenue airlines have received from these has increased from £1.6 billion in 2007 to £21.1 billion in 2016.
How can passengers avoid being caught out by the hidden fees airlines charge?
Adam Ewart, CEO and founder of luggage delivery service Send My Bag, explained exclusively to the Express.co.uk how to avoid those hidden fees.
Airlines were recently banned by the government from charging customers who used credit cards to book flights
Airlines were recently banned by the government from charging customers who used credit cards to book flights.
However, Adam advises many airlines are simply charging all passengers a ‘booking fee’ as a loophole, so to watch out for the additional cost at the end when paying.
Despite a number of price comparison sites finding the cheapest flights on the market, this doesn’t always mean they are the best bargain when it comes to additional costs.
Adam explained: “Always go to the end of the booking process of all airlines on your route.
“What’s included now varies so much it doesn’t do much good simply comparing the first-displayed fares anymore.
“By going to the end of the booking process you’ll know exactly what’s included the total price (food, drinks, luggage allowances), and you’ll be able to include the added extras that are most important to you for example your choice of seat and the amount of luggage you take.”
Cheap flights: Avoiding extra costs such as fees and bags can be done
Ryanair hand luggage fees were recently revealed to have increased from £5 to £7 for passengers wanting to take their suitcase into the cabin.
These prices add up when factoring in a return flight.
Passengers who try and purchase a checked in bag allowance at the airport could be stung with fees up to £55 each way.
Adam advises travellers to check what the final luggage cost can be, as well as to “check whether you’re allowed ‘personal items’ onboard”, which can also a space saver.
Anyone taking oversized items such as musical instruments or surfboards should also check the website policy of the airline first; many can cost a lot to take onboard.
Cheap flights: Doing the right research can ensure travellers get the cheapest flights
Buying currency can also be a difficult process before a holiday, especially with the struggling pound.
Buying money in different instalments can prevent travellers from falling foul of a bad exchange rate.
Adam explained: “Instead of buying all your currency in one go the day before you travel, buy it over time.
“The longer the period the better. This way you can protect yourself against sudden swings in exchange rates.”
A popular hidden cost is the food options onboard a flight, with many airlines removing free meals.
Adam advises to “pre-order it when you book your flight,” or to save even more money “use the old-fashioned method of preparing a packed lunch to bring on board”.