4. Priority-Boarding Fees
American Airlines and others now charge a fee ($9 and up) for priority boarding. This prompts the question — what happens when everyone chooses priority boarding?
How to avoid: Choose an airline that allows boarding based on when you check in.
5. Fees for the Best Economy Seats
The highly sought-after bulkhead seats are now available for up to an additional $59 per flight.
How to avoid: Either choose an airline that doesn't have this fee, or hope for a flight that's not full.
6. Fees to Cash in Loyalty Reward Miles
We all thought that if we were "loyal" and flew exclusively on one airline, then our accumulated miles would give us a "free" trip. Wrong. Now you can pay up to $550 to "cash in" your miles.
How to avoid: Become loyal to airlines (Southwest Air, JetBlue) that don't do this.
7. Charges for Same-Day Earlier Flights
In the old days, if you got to the airport early, and the airline had an available seat on an earlier flight to your destination, the airline would put you on that flight for free. Today you pay $50 (or more) for this same privilege.
How to avoid: You can't. Stick to your confirmed flight.
Also of interest
- Airline attendants provide savvy travel tips
- Home remedies for common ailments
- Match your interests with AARP volunteer opportunities
- Join the discussion: What are your tips for single travelers?
Check out the AARP home page every day for tips on travel, vacations, and great deals.