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A Guide to Flight Extras: When to Buy and When to Resist the Additional Costs

This blog post was updated on February 25, 2019.

When you book a flight, the cost of the ticket is just the beginning. Most airlines have a laundry list of extras that you can add to your flight. From seat upgrades to inflight entertainment, the cost conscious traveler always has a tendency to resist these extra charges. However not all flight extras are such a bad idea. Some are worth their price tags. In order to figure out just which extras should be tacked on to your flight, the traveler needs to follow a guide so that they don’t fork over their dollars and cents for extras that aren’t worth it in the end.

For those that can’t sleep or work on flights, go for the inflight entertainment: On most international flights, in-flight entertainment is usually included in the price of the ticket. However for domestic flights, this charge can come at an extra cost. While most travelers can get by without watching movies and television shows, the traveler that has trouble sleeping on broad a flight might want to consider this extra. Longer flights can seem to move at snail speed, especially when you don’t have work to do or you can’t sleep. Watching a movie is a good way to pass the time and certainly worth the extra cost for those that keep checking the clock on flights.

For flights over 4 hours, purchase extra legroom:
Those economy seats might be the most budget friendly, but they don’t always lend the space that a passenger needs for long haul flights. If there is an option to purchase extra legroom, this will be worth it on those flights over 4 hours. That extra space will be welcome around hour three when it feels like the seats could close in on you.

For the game changer, select travel insurance or trip cancelation coverage: If you frequently find that your plans change, travel insurance or some sort of flight cancelation coverage is worth its meager price. Usually this extra costs a few dollars, but it can save the traveler who has a schedule that is always changing. If you don’t anticipate any changes, you generally don’t need this charge. However if there is any hesitation about making the flight, it is better to be safe rather than sorry.

For short trips on small planes or full flights, avoid the baggage charge: Baggage charges are sometimes unavoidable. Then there are those flights where checking your bag is a waste of money. You will generally have the option to gate check your bag on full flights or those with smaller cabin space. You can have your bag stowed, but without having to pay the baggage fees usually attached to this space. You can check just what sort of plane you are flying to see if they will gate check those rolling suitcases anyway. It is also a good idea to see if all of the seats are filled when you check in. This is usually a good indication if they will ask you to gate check your bag and thus give you a free checked bag.


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