SmarterTravel’s Guide to Sneaky Fees Updated

On a recent personal business trip, I accumulated so much paperwork that I loaded it into a separate suitcase and carried it along home as extra baggage rather than ship it.

I assumed the worst, and flying on Delta, paid for it. The deal set me back $35, which is bad enough. But if it had been my third bag, it would have cost me $150 — and $200 if it had been the fourth bag. If it weighed too much, add another $90 or $175 and if the bag had been outsized it could have added another $75 or $300 to the ripoff.

Keeping up with fees is an important factor of flying these days, of course. And the SmarterTravel.com Ultimate Guide to Airline Fees is a huge help.

With this handy guide I know to consider Southwest, even if I hadn’t already known that and favored the longtime bargain outfit for decades.  From it, I learn that the second bag is free (as is the first); if it were overweight, the fee is $50; oversized, also $50. If I change my Delta flight it costs me up to $250 for who-knows-what but $0 on Southwest. If I dare to do business face to face or over the telephone, human to human, Delta wants another $25 or $35 while Southwest doesn’t charge anything.

Obviously there are times when you have to use the flights and carriers available but for the many times we have a choice it pays — sometimes a lot — to look past just the price of the ticket. SmarterTravel’s guide is part of the calculation.

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