17 Ways Airlines Are Squeezing Every Dime Out of Travelers

Air travel is more expensive than ever before. But which tricks are airlines using to get money out of travelers? You’ll find 17 of them in this article.


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“International airfare departing from the United States is up 10 percent for 2024 compared with 2023,” says The New York Times. One of the best tactics that airlines are using to get more and more money from travelers is constantly raising the price of airfare.

Airport Food

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Food at the airport is expensive. Displaying over-priced food to travelers is another way that airlines take advantage of them, as they know travelers will be hungry and looking for something to eat at the airport after a long-haul flight. Travelers don’t have any other options.


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In the past, even budget airlines would provide you with a few commodities to make long-haul flights more pleasant. These included a toothbrush and toothpaste, a mini bar of soap, a blanket, and a pillow. Many airlines have cut these commodities, and you have to pay for them if you want them.


Frankfurt Airport
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When you’re at the airport, you spend a lot of time waiting in line, looking at billboards that advertise products you might want. The figures from Bounce show that the “average wait times for security currently stand at 22 minutes, 48 seconds. Passport control will also set you back 25 minutes, 36 seconds.”

Long Stay Parking

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The figures from One Stop Parking show that “on average, it can cost you upwards of $30 per day to park your car at the airport parking. Other airports have even wilder figures of $50–$70 per day.” Leaving your car at the airport while you go on vacation is very expensive.

Hand Luggage Fees

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In the past, airlines would offer travelers a free hand luggage suitcase. This was great for people who were going on short vacations and only needed a few items. Nowadays, you have to pay for a hand luggage suitcase. Many airlines will now only let you on the plane with a small personal bag for free.

Bottled Water

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According to CheapAir, “the real reason airport bottled water can be two or even three times the cost of what you would pay at a grocery store is customer demand. You can’t pass through airport security with liquids larger than three ounces, which means most travelers buy bottled water on the other side.”

Checked Luggage Reductions

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Many airlines used to offer free checked luggage as part of the price of an airline ticket. Nowadays, it is very difficult to find a reasonably priced plane ticket that includes checked luggage. If you want to check a bag, you have to pay for it.


Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris
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The airport is designed in such a way that you have to pass through duty-free to get to where you need to go. Duty-free is another way that airports make money. Statista says that “in 2022, global duty free and travel retail sales [were] estimated to be worth 64 billion U.S. dollars from the previous year’s 52 billion.”

Airport Lounge

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Would you like to sit comfortably in a premium airport lounge where there is plenty of entertainment before you fly? Then you will have to pay extra money. Airport lounges are luxuries that make waiting for a plane enjoyable. But they come at a high price.

Drop Off

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Travelers who won’t be parking for long at the airport will have to pay to get into the drop-off center. These drop-off centers don’t give you any time to linger at the airport. After 15 or just 30 minutes, they begin to charge you more.


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Airports know that their travelers need the Internet to connect with their loved ones and stay entertained while they travel. They take advantage of the fact that many do not have roaming to offer their internet services. Some of these are free for a certain amount of time, and then they will push you to pay when your time is up.

Frequent Flyers

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Airlines want to make sure they get repeat travelers on their planes year after year. Because of this, they encourage their customers to start collecting air miles or to become “frequent flyers.” These incentives make people want to travel more and spend more money with the same company.


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Would you like a seat with more legroom? Economy seats are small, and extra legroom is essential for tall people. There are not many seats with extra legroom on planes, and this comes at an additional price. Advertising expensive seats with more legroom is another money-making scheme used by airlines.

Travel Insurance

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Most airlines sell plane tickets that do not include travel insurance. This added extra is a bit of a trap, as travelers can often find cheaper deals through their personal health insurance. Offering travel insurance is a method airlines use to get more money from travelers.

Text Alerts

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Some airlines have a text alert service. This service will send a text message to your cell phone with any updates about your flight, such as your gate number, as soon as they are available. But most airlines do not offer this service for free.

Seat Plan

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Would you like to choose where you sit on the plane before anyone else does? Then you will have to pay for that privilege. Seat plans go live about 24 to 48 hours before a flight is scheduled to leave the airport. If you want to choose a seat before that, you will likely have to pay.

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