6 On Your Side: Consumer Confidence, Avoiding airline fees

(ABC 6 News) – It’s happened to many of us. Just when you think you’ve found a great deal on airfare, you realize the price doesn’t include those annoying fees, everything from a checked bag to selecting a seat. That can sometimes add big bucks to the ticket price. Here is our 6 On Your Side: Consumer Confidence Report with some simple ways to avoid them.

Consumer Reports editor Pang-Chieh Ho thought she was getting a good deal on a flight to Florida—until she looked a little closer..

“It was the carry-on bag fee that I was most surprised by.” “The fees for my flight were more expensive than the airfare itself," Consumer Reports Editor, Pang-Chieh Ho said.

Pang-Chieh’s experience is not uncommon, according to CR’s Aviation Adviser Bill McGee.

“These days many airlines make more money off of fees than they do off of base airfares," Consumer Reports Aviation Adviser, William McGee said.

So what can you do to save? Start by checking out the airline’s website to find out exactly what’s included in the price for the type of ticket you are considering. Then decide what extras you’re willing to pay for.

“Ask yourself, what could they possibly be charging me? Baggage is the most obvious—even carry-on baggage, a seat assignment, early boarding," McGee said.

And while many airlines have loosened or even eliminated change or cancellation fees, Southwest, for example, allows for two free checked bags. A rarity.

If you’re a frequent flier on the same airline, consider that airline’s credit card, which could offer valuable perks such as free checked bags, priority seat selection and boarding, and other valuable travel treats.

Pang-Chieh plans to do some more traveling this summer—She knows the flights will likely be very crowded, and cost more than last year. Bill McGee has this final piece of advice for snagging a decent fare –

“If you see a fare right now and you think you’re going to be traveling this summer… my advice is to book it," McGee said.

If you’re trying to avoid a checked bag fee by only packing a carry-on, CR says to remember there are very strict rules on the sizes of any carry-ons you may have.