How to avoid extra charges when flying on a budget

Flying with a no-frills airline? Check the extra charges before you leave for the airport.

Travelling with a family can be costly, especially when the airline slaps on extra fees for extra baggage and speedy boarding to allow your family to find seats together.

In 2012, Mother Suzy McLeod complained on Facebook that Ryanair had charged her £236 to print out five boarding passes when she was flying back from Spain with her family, despite the fact that she had the passes as a PDF on her phone. Her flights were advertised at £166 per person, but after priority seating, baggage fees and the passes, they had to pay £1,650 in total.

To avoid a nasty shock at check-in, we’ve listed additional charges a typical family might incur. Some of the costs might be unavoidable, but being prepared should reduce some of the stress involved with flying as a family.

These low cost airline charges are indicative of the fees charged by some of the no-frills airlines, which includes; Ryanair, easyJet, Flybe, Jet2.com, Thomson Airways and Eastern European carrier Wizz Air.

[table class=”table table-striped”]BUDGET AIRLINE CHARGE,POTENTIAL COST,HOW TO AVOID?
Baggage (checking in bags), £15 to £20 per bag. ,Travel as light as possible. Pay online in advance for baggage. Check to see if you can share or pool baggage allowance. Find out weight and size of carry on hand (hold) allowance and use that to reduce checked in bags. Check to see if your airline will include your stroller as a bag and charge.
Excess weight charge,£20 per extra kilo,Check airline maximum weight and use bathroom scales before leaving.
Credit and debit card charges,Various,Check the fees for using a Visa Electron debit card. Debit card fees are usually lower than credit card fees. But remember credit card fees do give you some financial protection against the airline going bankcrupt.
Check in charges,£6 per flight,Check in online as the fees are nomally less (£5)
Printing your boarding pass,£40 per pass,Print at home / office / library
Priority or speedy boarding,£8 per person,Some low cost airlines let children up to the age of five go after speedy boarding. Check in early if you don’t want to pay for priority seating or to sit together.
Unwanted extras,Various,Make sure you click ‘remove’ to avoid paying for extras e.g. insurance when booking online.
Changes to flights / name,£25 to £150,”Double check your flight dates, airports, times and names before booking. It could cost you £25 to correct a mistake. Name mistakes can cost up to £150. You might be better off buying a new ticket rather than pay to correct your name.”
Telephone booking charges,£15 plus call itself,Book online
Family Seating (to sit together),£10 to £30 not budget but Thomson Cook & Cosmos,Most budget airlines are a ‘free for all’. So either buy priority boarding or arrive early.
[/table]

Budget airlines have made it easier for family to go holiday. So be prepared, reduce the possibility of being charged extra, remind yourself of the benefits of going on holiday with a family and book that holiday!

For more information on this author see my profile here +Ali McHugh

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