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Tips to avoid paying budget airlines additional charges


Hi Travel Buddies,

For the past 2 weeks, we have heard from not one, but three of our friends lament about the additional charges they were charged by or paid to budget airlines unknowingly when they made their bookings with budget airlines.

We decided to look at 3 most popular budget airlines in Singapore : Jetstar, AirAsia and Tiger Airways and share with you tips we uncover how to avoid paying those additional charges charged by budget airlines.

So what are those additional charges you can avoid?

1. Check-in baggage

All budget airlines basic airfare covers for carry-in baggage only.  If you have check-in baggage, you have to pay for the additionals.  It is better for you to decide how much baggage you need at the point of booking because adding checked baggage after booking will cost more, at airport, over the phone or online.

During our recent flight back from Bali, we saw one passenger had an argument with the airline staff as he wanted to carry his golf baggage on board.  Obviously, he did not wish to pay for the extras.  So be aware that the baggage charges for oversized sports equipment are different.  For instance, AirAsia defines sports equipment as “surfboards, snowboards, scuba, bicycle, golf and skiing gears” and charges $32 for up to 20kg.

2. Seat selection

All the 3 budget airlines will charge passengers who wish to select their own seat.  Different charges apply for standard seat, window or aisle seat or seat with more leg room.  However, if you do not mind being taking the assigned seat by the airlines, you can skip this option!  You can stand a better chance to get a better seat if you check in earlier at the airport. 🙂

3. Priority boarding

Ask yourself if this is important for you to be one of the first on board the plane or you do not mind being the last one on board. 😛

4. In-flight meals and entertainment

We see this as essential or not depending on the duration of the flight.  We will probably consider paying for the meals if is a long flight.  But you can decide this later.  As for entertainment, we suppose we can skip this option by bringing our own dvds, music or books on board.  Please remember to bring along a pair of ear phones if you can.  We experienced once that we were given a personal inflight entertainment system on board but without earphones and we will have to pay extra upon request.

5. Comfort kit

Cosy blankets, inflatable neck support, eyeshade, ear plugs, are there to make your flight experience more comfy but at a cost.  Jetstar charges $7 for one comfort pack.

6. Flight amendments on date, time and names

All airlines will charge a fee for flight amendments on date, time and names. But normally, we will not activate this option unless there is a change in our travel plans.  So why pay for this in advance unless you need it?  For instance, one friend is considering postponing her trip to Bangkok lately because of the severe flood.  The budget airline not only will impose a fee on change of date, she will also need to pay for any fare difference in her new travel dates.  It is a pity that she did not buy travel insurance before the flood outbreak.  We always advise our friends to get travel insurance as early as possible and travel with a piece of mind.

7. Travel insurance, hotels or car rental options

The airlines will normally tie up with the travel insurance companies, hotels and car rental agencies.  It is for you to check it out whether it is cheaper to get your own deals separately, which we normally do unless there are good discounts. 🙂

8. Convenience fee or Processing fee

You will have to pay a convenience fee or processing fee if you pay your online booking using credit, debit or charge cards.  But do you know that there are other payment options available that you do not need to pay for additional processing fees?

For instance, you can choose offline payment option in Jetstar and just make your payment via Singpost or 7-Eleven outlets at no extra costs!  However, Jetstart only allow ofline payment up to 14 days prior to departure.  Once payment is made, the confirmed itinerary will be sent to you within 48 hours.

Actually, there is another option that you do not have to pay for any credit card charges.  Book via ZUJI SingaporeJetstar is also one of the preferred partners with ZUJI and the best part is that that you can compare the airfares of the different airlines at a glance. 🙂

So, please read all the fine prints and options given to you carefully when you do your online bookings and you can avoid paying the unnecessary!

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