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How To Avoid Phone Fees When Booking a Flight

Die, fees. Worse is when you have to call it in – do you actually think I want to be forced to speak to a live person?

If the reason that you’re calling in to book a flight is because you’ve got a technical issue, you should tell the agent upfront. “Hi, I’m calling in because I’m pretty sure a dog pooped on your server and now I can’t get this redonkously cheap fare from Mt. Fujimanjaro to the island where the first colony of humans set foot on 3.5 billion years ago. You might have seen it, it was in Prometheus.”

Luckily, this will usually result in a fee waiver; if you’re not sure, it never hurts to double-check with the agent. If s/he doesn’t want to take pity on you, then the best method is to find someone a little bit nicer. Tell them that you’ll think about it, hang up and keep calling until you find someone who won’t charge you the fee. Dude blogger Points Guy also has a pretty good tip to bypass all the mumbo jumbo:

Another way to get around it is by speaking to online support when you have booking problems. Often these agents can make the reservation for you and won’t charge you the booking fee because it’s classified as an IT error.

Clearly, sometimes it’s not because you have a technical issue. It’s also because you’ve got an itinerary that involves 5 stops, 2 open jaws and four continents over a period of three month. In this case, it’s highly recommended that the website just magically glitches out on you.

In other cases, you may be trying to book something that you just can’t book online. Why should they charge you a phone fee for not making it readily accessible online? Though it’s an issue of blackballing the consumer here, these are all valid reasons to skirt around the phone-booking fee. You can save that money for your carry-on baggage fee instead.

The list of airline phone-booking fees*:


AirlinePhone Fee
Alaska Airlines$15
American Airlines$30 domestic; $40 international
JetBlue Airways$25
Southwest Airlines$0
Spirit Airlines$10, except for Colombia
United Airlines$25
US Airways$25 domestic; $35 international
Virgin America$20

*Higher status frequent flier members may be eligible for a reduced or waived booking fee.

How To Avoid Phone Fees When Booking a Flight via @maphappy
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