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What’s the REAL cost of flying??

What are PFCs? How much will checking bags cost? There are fees for seat assignments??

In its article, Airline fees survival guide, SmarterTravel investigates the affect those ‘hidden, little’ fees have on the final cost of your trip. They’ve also joined forces with SeatGuru and Airfare Watch Dog to put together a nifty guide which lists many of the fees charged by the big American carriers for items such as luggage, food/beverages, change fees, and more. According to the SmarterTravel, the list will continue to grow and will be updated on their…so this is good little chart to check out and keep on standby.

PFCs?
SmarterTravel does a great job in providing some travel scenarios and cost comparisons between airlines. For instance, a single traveler with no carry-ons doesn’t have to worry about baggage fees. However, if that traveler’s trip includes a layover, a PFC (passenger facility charge…hey airports are losing money too!) is tacked on to the price of the ticket. The old theory that flights with layovers are often the cheapest is now going out the window, because with every layover another PFC is added on. In their cost comparisons for the single traveler, the flights with more layovers actually ended up being slightly higher because of this.

Pay to sit?
Another fee I learned about was the seat assignment fee. In the couple traveling to Puerto Rico scenario, base airfare for AirTran and Spirit were initially lower. Of course we know Spirit charges for everything…but what I didn’t know is that both airlines charge if you decide you want to have a seat assignment.

In Part II of the guide, they discuss the lovely food and beverage charges and more baggage fees. Not to our surprise, in these cost comparisons, Southwest is still considered one of the most fee-friendly airlines out there.
Speaking of Southwest, their new commercial always makes me giggle…

Do you think we’ll ever stop being nickle-and-dimed? Doubt it…so we just have to know how to play by the rules…and beat the airlines at their own game.

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