1. Surcharges for Human Contact
Don’t laugh, but some airlines charge a fee (anywhere from $15 to $35) if you buy your ticket over the phone and speak to a human being. The charge can go up if you buy your ticket at the counter in an airport.
How to avoid: Buy your ticket online. If your itinerary is complicated and you do prefer to speak to an airline representative, ask up front if there’s a fee. Then try to negotiate — sometimes the price of the ticket is not fixed. Also, ask about discounts for children, seniors or students when appropriate. And ask for an e-ticket to avoid surcharges sometimes associated with paper tickets. Make sure you’ll be able to check in online to save yourself time.
2. Carry-on Charges
Spirit Airlines led the pack when it started charging for carry-on bags: $26 to $35 at the time of online booking, $36 to $45 at online check-in, or $50 to $100 per bag at counter or gate check-in.
How to avoid: For now, under-the-seat carry-ons are still free on many airlines. So use one that fits below the seat in front of you. (Dimensions vary, but for most planes, a bag that is 19 inches wide by 17 inches deep by 9.5 or 10 inches tall will work.)