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Making It in San Diego: Navigating mounting airline fees on your next flight

Posted at 11:27 AM, Jul 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-12 14:27:03-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - When you book a flight, your base price may not represent the final bill due to mounting airline fees. As 10News examines ways to make it in San Diego, we have solutions for saving money on travel.

It's not your imagination: fees are part of the way airlines do business.

"Instead of just one price for everything, it's now an a la carte menu," said AAA spokesman Allan Gundy.

The hidden charges don't just apply to your luggage. Gundy says fees can climb for seat selection, reservation changes and cancellation, beverages, and in-flight wifi.

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Before you book, consider investing in a refundable ticket if you believe changes are possible. Also, many airlines charge higher fees to cancel within 24 hours of a flight, so act quickly if you know your travel plans need to be altered, AARP reports.

Remember to download movies or games before you fly or, if you must have wifi, Grundy says to "sign up for a monthly subscription service like gogo, which is what most of the major U.S. airlines use."

Food prices are high on planes, but you can buy snacks to take through TSA checkpoints and pick up beverages after security.

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Gundy also recommends you don't book the cheapest flight you find online because it may not be that great of a deal.

"Look at what all the additional fees would amount to and look at the total ticket cost," said Grundy.

As for cutting down or skipping those fees altogether, there are a few things you can do.

"There are airline branded credit cards that as a perk may offer free luggage," advises Gundy.

You can also dodge fees by reaching out to a travel agent to find the best deals.