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Kiplinger.com: 9 Ways to Avoid Airline Fees

9 Ways to Avoid Airline Fees

By Cameron Huddleston

For cost-conscious travelers, getting a good deal on a flight doesn't stop at the price of a ticket. The savings you score by booking the cheapest flight could easily be wiped out by fees that you might be hit with when you fly.

Unfortunately, keeping track of all the things airlines charge extra for and how much they charge is no easy task. That's because airline fees are constantly changing. Since January 2012, airlines have changed 52 fees, according to a study by TravelNerd, a website that helps consumers compare airline fees. More than half of the changes were related to baggage fees. The rest were related to service fees, such as charges for priority seating and ticket changes, and in-flight fees for food, beverages, unaccompanied minors, blankets and other items.

Low-cost carriers Spirit Airlines and Allegiant Air were responsible for 18 of the 52 fee changes, according to the study. For example, Spirit increased its fee for carry-on bags to as much as $100 for some customers.

Despite the fact that Spirt more than doubled its carry-on fee, most fee increases were $5 to $10, according to TravelNerd. However, TravelNerd Vice President Alicia Jao says some troubling trends have emerged: an increase in fee ranges rather than fixed fees and bundling of services for a single fee. These trends, she says, have led to less transparency and have made it more difficult to compare prices and services.

Luckily, there are ways to avoid fees. Jao offers these tips.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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