Four annoying ‘hidden’ airline fees and cheeky tricks to avoid them

If you’re getting on a flight, it means you’re probably going somewhere awesome, and your wallet is a lot lighter.

If you use a budget airline you can get some crazy cheap flights too. I got flights to Nice earlier in the year, and heard people talking behind me about how they got tickets for £30 each way!

But even though you can get cheap flights, you need to watch out for hidden fees that really bump up the cost of your ticket. So here are the main fees that can really sting, and ways to avoid them so you have more money to spend on cheap margaritas and sun cream on your holiday.

Baggage fees

If you’re getting a cheap flight, odds are you are going to have to pay if you want to check in a big bag. It literally pays to travel light.

The most obvious way to get around this fee is to not check luggage at all and pack everything into one carry on. If you’re like me, you pack everything you could possibly need and only use about 30% of it. So really be honest with yourself, and get pack cleverly (there are a million videos on YouTube showing you how to do it).

airline hidden fees

Seat selection fees

I cannot stand sitting anywhere but the aisle seat. I like to be able to walk about and stretch my legs. I’ve sat by the window for hours wanting to go to the loo, while the person on the aisle slept and I was too polite to wake them up. And don’t even get me started on the middle seat! Urgh.

Here’s the thing, but you can save some serious cash by sucking it up and leaving your seat up to chance. Or, make sure you get to the airport early, so when you check in, you can bagsie a decent seat.

It doesn’t matter too much if it’s a short haul flight as most of us can deal with a bit of inconvenience for a couple of hours. My boyfriend and I ended up at the different ends of the plane, so he asked someone if they could swap so we could be together and they obliged. If someone is alone, they generally are up for moving.

Hidden flight fees

In-flight WiFi fee

You’re not going to be able to get it free, but there’s a way to get WIFI on our laptop cheaper on a flight. It’s a cheeky hack that tricks the wifi by pretending your laptop is a smartphone. Most web browsers let you set your browser agent, allowing you to let Firefox masquerade as Safari, Internet Explorer, or a mobile phone browser. This is offered for developer testing purposes, but if you simply set your browsing agent to identify as an Android or iPhone you’ll automatically get a lower price on your Wi-Fi for that particular flight.

Once you’ve bought your pass, just switch the browsing agent back to normal and you’ll be online, free and clear for less money. If you don’t know how to change your browser’s user agent, just watch this video on YouTube.

Hidden flight fees

Use your phone as your boarding pass to avoid printing fees

To be fair, most airlines won’t charge you for this, which is why it’s so surprising when they do. Ryanair requires passengers to check-in online and if you do it at the airport, it will cost you close to £40 just to check in and over £12 to print your your boarding pass.

So, to avoid that totally unnecessary charge, download its app, which will allow you to check in with your phone for free.

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