8 Money-Saving Hacks Big Airlines Don’t Want You to Know – Best Life


Air travel is increasing and so are prices. In fact, NerdWallet reported that Prices have increased by 34 percent since summer 2019. It’s not just standard inflation that’s causing the price hike, either. Airlines are getting sneaky about the way they make more more, including charging for things that used to be free or raising rates on existing costs. While some of this is unavoidable, there are some money-saving secrets that can benefit your bottom line.

READ NEXT: Never do this after checking a bag, flight attendant says.


There can be many reasons for having to cancel a flight. Know that you often have recourse in such situations. For example, Dan Gellert, Travel Expert and COO von Skiplagged, notes that the US government requires airlines to offer a 24-hour cancellation policy (as long as the flight is at least seven days in advance). This means you can cancel within 24 hours of booking a flight.

“In addition, many airlines have changed their fees for changing or canceling a flight,” he adds. “You have to check every single airline, but many now allow you to change or cancel your flight for free as long as it’s not a Basic Economy ticket.”

Understanding this cancellation policy can save you money in the long run because you won’t lose the amount you spent in scenarios when you need to adjust a flight time or cancel altogether. You can also cancel and rebook a cheaper flight, which can save you hundreds of dollars.

Two passports and boarding passes

Some airlines do not allow modified or canceled tickets. If that’s the case – and if you’re outside of that 24-hour window – don’t cancel the flight.

“It’s better just not showing up than calling to cancel,” says travel expert JustinJohnson, Co-founder and CEO by Govy. “In the event of a flight cancellation or schedule change—[which has been on the rise recently]– You may be entitled to a credit or refund. If you had canceled the ticket, you would not be entitled to anything.”

This is a bit of a risk, but it could save you money in the long run. If there is a delay or cancellation, call the airline to request a refund. Johnson says it will likely be in the form of credit. Also call the airline afterwards if you have a return flight as they may cancel the return flight if you do not show up without explanation.

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Person walking through the airport

A hidden city flight is a flight where you disembark at an intermediate station and not at the airline’s final destination. So let’s say you need to get to Phoenix from New York City. The ticket can actually go as far as San Francisco, but has a stopover in Phoenix.

“The average traveler who buys a Hidden City ticket saves $128, and many save thousands of dollars,” notes Gallert. The Skiplagged search portal is actually geared towards finding these plans for you, making the process a breeze. Note, however, that you can only take a carry-on bag on a hidden city flight.

Baggage with a lost tag
Maxx Studio/Shutterstock

Be aware of state regulations and specific airline policies regarding canceled flights, changes and missing/delayed baggage. The US Department of Transportation (DOT) requires a full refund in the event of a canceled flight by the airline, as well as a refund in the event of significant schedule changes or delays.

You are also entitled to a refund if your class of service was changed or if you were unable to use a service you paid for, such as

There are also numerous recourse options in the event of an MIA or lost suitcase. Not only are airlines obligated to refund you if the luggage is reported lost, but many also have policies that offer you some form of compensation. For example American Airlines reimburses all necessary items You need meanwhile without your bags (like clothes and toiletries), and United does the same, paying a flat rate $1500 per lost bag.

Damaged blue suitcase

In the same manner as above, be sure to report serious damage to suitcases caused by airline handlers. Many airlines have policies that will reimburse you for the damage or issue a check for the cost of a new bag. There are some exceptions – such as B. Normal wear and tear – but if your suitcase is badly damaged or largely unusable, make a complaint immediately.

Open bag of airplane pretzels
Adam John Hurley/Shutterstock

Airlines make a good chunk of their money from fees. In 2021 alone, fees brought in billions, from checked baggage to seat selection.

“We recommend doing some planning to know exactly where the airline will charge a fee and planning as much in advance as possible to avoid those fees,” says Gallert. “Fees can include printing a boarding pass at the airport, overweight bags, or charging headphones or snacks on the plane.”

Many airlines show no mercy for even the smallest thing — like a bag that’s a pound or two overweight — so pay attention to the rules they set. A little planning can save you a lot of money. In some cases, you can use your airline miles to pay for things like seat upgrades, and as an airline credit card holder, perks like free checked baggage often come with it.

Person looking for flights

You may have heard that booking a flight on a specific day or time saves you money. This isn’t a rule of thumb, Johnson says, so extend your search times so you can better view price fluctuations, and then book when costs are lowest.

Sites that aggregate flights, like Kayak and Skiplagged, have price tracking features that let you keep tabs on fluctuations, and they’ll even send you an alert if prices for your destination go down.

READ THIS NEXT: Never forget to do this after takeoff, flight attendant warns.

Two airplane seats

It may sound like a “fear tactic” urging you to book, but beware when an airline discovers that there are only a few fares left.

“There are dozens of different fare classes — not just First and Economy,” says Johnson. “When you see ‘one ticket left at this price’, it really means there is one ticket left in that fare class. Once it’s gone, it jumps to the next fare class and you see a jump in price.”


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