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Shopping for summer airfare deals

April 7, 2010 8:43:43 PM PDT
Book now, or you will pay the price. That is the advice from travel experts who say there are some discounted air fares for your summer vacation. But the news is only good, not great, because of supply and demand.

"A lot of people didn't travel last year. A lot of people are really excited about traveling this year and airlines cut capacity by about 10% over the past year, so there's just not as many seats as there used to be," said Erik Torkells of TripAdvisor.com.

Then, there's all those extra fees that will leave your budget up in the air.

The latest and most controversial fee comes from Spirit Airlines, which announced it will charge extra just to place your carry-on bag in the overhead bin.

"They're going to charge as much as $45 for you to place your bag in an overhead compartment, I think that's just absurd," said Pauline Frommer of Frommer Guides.

"So on Spirit, you could go to the Bahamas for $46? That's what they said on the news this morning, but you can pay $45 to put your bag on? That's kind of ridiculous isn't it?" questioned Pat Bosch, an airline passenger.

That's not the only fee that has passengers fuming.

If you want an extra blanket and pillow it costs about $7.

If you would like to choose a window, isle or exit seat it costs between $5 and $20 extra.

Booking your tickets over the phone will also cost you an extra $25 on some airlines.

On at least one airline, you can also pay an extra $10 to get on the plane before everyone else.

"I'm surprised they're not charging to get off the plane first! That's what I'd pay for, get me out of here, let me off!" said Torkells.

Perhaps the most shocking news is from RyanAir, a discount European carrier, that now wants to charge you to use the bathroom.

While you may not be able to control that cost, experts say, the good news is passengers can try to save money in other ways...

For one thing, you should be flexible about which days you're willing to travel.

Look into alternate airports, sometimes they're cheaper.

If you are calling to book a flight, call midweek, because that can sometimes also be cheaper.

With rising fuel costs experts say it is important to act now or else that family "staycation" from last summer could be making a comeback.


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