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The Top Hidden Airline Fees to Watch Out For

Wallet and money - airline feesAfter many years of teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, many large airlines started adding fees to their fares to bring in more money. Unfortunately, they have not always been transparent about those fees or how you can avoid sticker shock at check-in. Here are a few of the most common hidden fees to watch out for in your travels.

HIDDEN AIRLINE FEE #1: Carry On Bag Fees

We all became familiar with checked bag fees a few years back when airlines started charging as much as $50 per bag to check your luggage. This led travelers to overstuff their carryon bags in an attempt to avoid that fee. Unfortunately, some airlines have now rolled out carry on bag fees for those who purchase the lowest tier of economy tickets. Make sure you check the fine print before you buy to avoid overpaying for a carry-on bag when an upgraded ticket would have been cheaper.

HIDDEN AIRLINE FEE #2: Seat Assignment Fees

There may be a legitimate reason that you need to choose a seat arrangement in advance, however, most airlines these days charge a fee to give you an assigned seat. This is especially true if you want an aisle seat, or if you want to be in the emergency exit. With new seating configurations, airlines have found ways to charge you more just for an extra inch of leg room.

HIDDEN AIRLINE FEE #3: In-Flight Amenities

Airlines used to provide snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, pillows, blankets and even headphones for customers in flight. Today, you are likely to see charges up to $5 for some of these amenities, including water or soda. Again, you might want to ask in advance if you know you will be wanting something to drink during your flight, or if you plan on getting some shuteye while you’re flying.


Booking fees are more confusing than ever before. Many airlines charge fees for changing or canceling a flight, even if the flight is weeks or months away. They have also started charging fees for redeeming your frequent flyer miles or taking advantage of other member perks that used to come with club membership. Pay close attention when you are booking to make sure you aren’t going to lose money with all of these hidden fees.

If you haven’t traveled by plane in recent years, keeping an eye out for these fees will help you save money on your trip. All of those little $5 add-ons can build up really quickly if you aren’t careful.

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