Do you know what you're paying for?

That unbelievable flight deal can often become a figment of your imagination once you add on taxes, admin fees, card charges, check-in and baggage fees. And that’s before you’ve even thought about the inflight optional extras that used to be part of the package. At Holiday Extras we know that it pays to compare airline fees before you buy. Here are some common flight charges to look out for:

Know your airline fees!

Airline fees, airport check-in

Image: Håkan Dahlström under Creative Commons licence.

Debit and credit card charges

Airlines are obliged to show their debit card fees up front now, so you don’t get a nasty surprise at the end of a lengthy booking process. Many don’t charge a fee if you use your debit card, but if you’re paying more than £100 it’s better to pay with a credit card (and cough-up the fee) so you’re covered if they go out of business.


Air passenger duty, airport and government taxes, aviation insurance levy, flight delay / cancellation levy and emission trading scheme levy are some of the wonderful taxes you could find slapped on to your basic flight fee. Some airlines are more enthusiastic about adding these additional charges than others, so check the small print before you book.

Administration fees

A few carriers also charge a more mysterious administration fee - to cover the costs of maintaining their reservation systems they say.


If you need to change or cancel your booking you will probably be charged a service fee of up to around £50. It is also common to charge you more if you phone your airline rather than amending your booking yourself online. Generally, the cheaper a flight, the less flexible it is.

Check-in fees

It definitely pays to check in online in advance nowadays - and don’t forget to print out your boarding pass. With a number of airlines there’ll be a high price for the privilege of doing this at the airport.

Baggage charges

Most flights from the UK allow 10kg of hand luggage per passenger for free. If you can travel that light, great. If not, you could entertain your friends and family by wearing as much of your clothing as possible for the flight - air travellers are not charged by body weight, yet. Failing that, most airlines will charge you less for booking your bag online rather than doing it at the airport.

Check out airline policies on carrying extra items in the hold such as pushchairs, car seats and golf clubs as there may be additional charges here too.

Seat selection and priority boarding

With the low-cost flight revolution we became accustomed to the boarding stampede and battle for the best seats. Now on many of these flights you can pay extra to choose your seat beforehand or board the plane ahead of the masses.

Inflight comforts

You might also want to pay a premium for the best economy seats or more legroom. On many flights, wifi is available for an extra fee. If you don’t fancy parting with any more pennies during your flight, you’ll want to pack your own inflight entertainment, food, drinks, pillows and blankets. Many full-service airlines still provide these services as part of your ticket price.

Miscellaneous airline fees

If you have specific needs, from mobility issues to organising an escort for an unaccompanied minor or travelling with pets, there could be additional fees - make sure you look before you book!

Have you discovered any other weird and wonderful airline fees, or ways to avoid them? Tell us below, and if you enjoyed this post like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Google+.

Written by Maxine Clarke, follow her on Twitter @travellingmax, or email

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