Airline Fees Worth Paying This Holiday Season

Paying a fee for early boarding can be worth it for families traveling during the holidays. (Photo: Susan Walsh, AP)
Paying a fee for early boarding can be worth it for families traveling during the holidays.
(Photo: Susan Walsh, AP)

You pay more than enough for airfare, blowing it up with optional fees is crazy, right? Except during the holidays. Sometimes it pays to pay more, and here are five of the more useful fees plus one non-airline offering you should consider.

1. Early boarding

If you are a typically disorganized family (or want to be sure of room for a carry-on), this is the fee for you. It can be cheap, too: Southwest’s EarlyBird boarding is only $12.50 while American’s Main Cabin Extra starts at $20 and gives you the additional perk of a little more legroom; its Choice Essential starts at $29 and includes a checked bag or pay $80 (and up) for Choice Plus and watch the $200 change fee disappear.

2. Day-pass to a VIP lounge

This isn’t about pampering; VIP lounges are where you want to be during delays or cancellations (a real possibility at Thanksgiving) because lounges have dedicated airline employees for personalized help. If you’ve ever stood in line with 100 other passengers to talk to the single, overworked gate agent, this is worth it. Day-pass prices vary; Virgin America charges $40 for some lounges while others charge $50, but look for discounts during holidays.

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Source: USA Today | Rick Seaney

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