Travel Advice: Avoiding The Worst Airline Fees

Air Date:
Heard On The Larry Meiller Show
Photo: Public Domain

While you may have managed to snag a cheap airline ticket, there could still be a handful of fees waiting for you at the airport. Our travel expert Rick Seaney joins us with some advice on minimizing, or even avoiding, some of the worst airline fees. We also talk about the cheapest days to fly this summer.

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  • Time Flies When You’re Saving Money: Tips For Air Travel This Summer

    Planning on taking a trip this summer? Rick Seaney, the CEO and co-founder of, has some advice for steering clear of the miserable side of airline travel.

    If you plan on vacationing in the United States, it’s best to start shopping for airline tickets three to three-and-a-half months in advance of your travel date, Seaney said. It’s also best to fly during the week. The cheapest days to fly domestically are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, he said.

    Budget airlines like Spirit (for domestic flights) and Ryanair (for flights within Europe) and are a great way to save money, but make sure you do your research first in order to avoid any extra fees, Seaney said. Otherwise you may find yourself paying big bucks for bringing a bag that’s not quite tiny enough, not printing off the ticket on time or not reserving your seat.

    If you plan on leaving the U.S., you’ll want to start looking for tickets even earlier, five to five-and-a-half months in advance, Seaney said. And flying during the week instead of on weekends is cheaper for international flights, about $80 less round trip, he said.

    Other best practices for international flights depend on where you’re going. If you’re headed to Europe, Seaney suggested planning your trip for the fall instead of the spring to save money. You may have to bring an extra sweater, but your wallet will thank you.

    “Fall is gonna be cheaper than spring, and officially fall has two break points (when ticket prices decrease),” he said. “One is around Aug. 23 when the prices drop as kids go back to school. There’s another drop in prices a little bit later in mid-October.”

    Seaney said he prefers heading to Europe in September.

    “Most of Europe actually is on vacation the month of August, so all you get is the touristy stuff. The weather is actually much better — when you get into October timeframe, it gets a little more iffy,” he said.

    Springtime is also a great time for a Europe trip, but be sure to avoid booking your trip for mid- to late-March, when there’s a jump in prices, Seaney said. It’s also generally best to avoid transatlantic flights during or after mid-May, when prices jump again, he said.

    When you’re booking a transatlantic flight, it’s also a good idea to be on the lookout for tickets from less well-known airlines like Icelandair, Aer Lingus and Turkish Airlines, Seaney said.

    If you plan on flying to Australia, the Fiji Islands, Guam, or anywhere in Asia — avoid flying out of a Midwestern airport if you can. It’s best to book a domestic flight to an airport on the west coast, and an additional flight to your final destination, Seaney said.

    No matter where you’re going, Seaney recommended making sure you avoid extra fees at all costs.

    “The two fees that catch people the most after ticket purchase are the change fee, which can be anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to $400, domestic versus international. And secondarily, the check bag fee, which is around $50,” Seaney said.

    And a final key piece of advice: don’t be a lazy shopper.

    “The best thing you can absolutely do is comparison shop. That’s how you’re gonna end up finding a decent deal,” Seaney said.

Episode Credits

  • Larry Meiller Host
  • Chris Malina Producer
  • Rick Seaney Guest
  • Larry Meiller Interviewer