Air travel is still a very popular way of transportation... but the rules on how to save money are changing and you need to change with the times if you want to get the most bang for your air travel dollar.
Saving money on air travel used to be fairly simple and straightforward... you went online to the big clearinghouse travel sites such as Orbitz, Travelocity, Priceline, Expedia...now this is a good place to start but airlines are constantly finding ways to add to their bottom line and eliminating paying the fee to companies like the above are one of the ways the airlines are increasing their profits.
The airline pictured above is Allegiant Airlines, a airline company that serves smaller airports at what can be big savings... but it seems everything has a price.
Later this week my wife and I are flying from the Mesa Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix, airport nonstop to Springfield Missouri to visit a relative.
We are using Allegiant air which does not advertise on the big travel websites... you have to go to their airport or their website.
We are using Allegiant air because it is cheap and because it is nonstop which saves us about five hours by not having to go through Denver or Dallas to change planes.
So first of all check and see if Allegiant or other small carriers serve your area...and of course Southwest airlines has always used their own reservation system and has the now important benefit of not charging for two bags a person... a huge income generator for the airlines... estimates as high as $5 billion a year.
Let's take a look at the breakdown of how my wife and I are getting round-trip from Phoenix to Springfield Missouri for a total of $365 for the two of us.
The airfare itself was $217... federal taxes were $30... 9/11 security fees $10...airline facility fees $18... using the web to make our reservation $40... we paid for one bag, 40 pound limit, $50.
Most of those fees cannot be avoided, we may not sit together, but big deal it would cost us $60 additional for reserved seats.
To avoid baggage fees, easy if you choose Southwest airlines, we have to get a little creative... since I plan to do a little flyfishing in Lake Taneycomo in Branson... so I am wearing on the plane my fishing vest, and my heavy fishing boots... in order to save weight... I probably look like I am on my way to make a Viagra commercial... but I just can't see paying any more than $50 to ship my bags.
This airline is really big hearted and allows you one personal item that will fit totally underneath the seat in front of you... and ladies that is not in addition to your purse, one personal item means one personal item.
Since 9/11, air travel due to the security constraints has become a pain in the posterior.
Make sure you put in your checked bags any liquid or paste container more than 3 ounces and anything at all that could be considered a weapon.
In the past two years we have had two wine openers confiscated, some spices confiscated because the bottle was 3.2 ounces, two nail files, and a small pocket knife that belonged to my father-in-law.
Do not look for sympathy or common sense from TSA personnel, or for that matter most federal agencies that have been given a mandate.
But if you know upfront to try and place as much as possible in your checked bags you have less and less chance of running afoul of the 9/11 security issues.
Two years ago we flew in and out of the only commercial airport in Israel, probably the tightest security in the world, and were not asked to take off our shoes... they profile... which of course is not politically correct in our society.
Maybe we could learn something from our Israeli firends.
Hope you picked up a tip or two and enjoyed reading Air travel tips.