How To Avoid Sneaky Airline Scams

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Have you ever been a victim of sneaky airline scams? A lot of us learn the hard way that airlines aren’t always to be trusted! There’s a few tricks they play to squeeze out some extra pennies from their customers, and after booking countless flights, I’m very familiar with them all ? From unnecessary add-ons, sneaky increased prices, and online scams, this list will keep you up-to-date on all the airline scams out there, as well as protect your money (and sanity) next time you book a flight!

Online Booking Fees

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Booking sites like Expedia are great for racking up member points and getting exclusive deals, but when it comes to booking flights, their fees can really add up. The majority of the money you spend booking a flight goes to the airline, so in order to make a profit, these booking sites up-sell tickets, and may even add an extra fee for using their site to book it with.

To avoid these added costs, use a booking site like Skyscanner instead, which allows you to book directly with the airline or with the cheapest booking site available, minus the crazy fees. In the photo above, you’ll see the difference between Skyscanner vs. Expedia and how much money you could potentially save on your next flight.

Unnecessary Add-Ons

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This airline trick is super sneaky!! In order to make an extra dime, airline companies may sell add-ons like seat preferences and checked luggage costs, when in person at the airport, they come completely free-of-charge!

For example, in Asia, I was spending an extra $20 on checked luggage and an extra $10 on seat selection when booking online for every flight. I luckily forgot to purchase these one time and discovered it was completely free to check bags and choose your seat directly at the airport!

Fake Ticket Scams

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I’ve been lucky enough to never purchase a fake ticket online, but airlines report that they encounter fake tickets every week (sometimes every day!). There’s no sympathy if this happens either- you’ll be stuck in the airport having to buy another full-priced ticket!

In order to avoid these scams, never buy tickets off of sites like Craigslist and if going through a lesser-known booking site, make sure to read the reviews online before going through with the final transaction.

Increased Flight Prices on Recent Searches

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Yet another sly airline operation! I’m not even exactly sure how they pull this one off. Basically, booking sites will note the flights most frequently searched in your online history, and then increase the prices on their site accordingly. The idea is that you’ll most likely need to purchase a flight on the date you continually look up, and will be forced to buy one, regardless of the increased price. This means, the more you search a flight, the more likely the prices will raise!

As I mentioned in my post about cheap flight hacks, I once had to pay $100 more than my boyfriend on the same exact flight because of my recent searches, so always remember to clear your cache before booking a previously-searched flight!

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Do you have any other tips to add to the list? Please mention them in the comments below if you do!

0 thoughts on “How To Avoid Sneaky Airline Scams”

  1. As Mukal says, always use your web browser’s private browsing mode. Different browsers use different terms for the same thing.

    The objective is to not leave a cookie or clue that you have shopped for a flight before. Also don’t start shopping with other cookies that link your search history. So make sure your private browser is not logged in to Google or Yahoo. Otherwise there is almost no point in private browsing.

    For exampled “Jamaica Vacation Spots”, then later searching for a flight to Jamaica. They will know that you are very interested, so may withhold discounts.

    On the other other hand, their competitors may offer up an ad with a discount to get your business. For example, you may see an ad for “Cancum vacations half off”.

    So search private and public and compare the results. You may find cheaper alternatives, and cheaper primary objectives in both methods.

    Chrome calls their “Incogneto Wondow”.
    Internet Explorer 11 calls it “InPrivate Browsing”
    Firefox calls it “Private Window”
    Safari calls it “Private Window”

  2. Very interesting article! I didn’t know that sometimes it’s possible to do baggage check-ins and select seats for free at the airport! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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