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Tips to avoid paying fees when you fly

Tuesday - 12/3/2013, 7:33am  ET

american airlines
Airline fees can add up, so avoid the headache with some tips. (WTOP File)

WASHINGTON - A fee for this and a fee for that and suddenly your discount airline ticket doesn't look like much of a bargain.

Last year, airlines hauled in more than $27 billion in fees, according to The Week magazine.

Most carriers are now charging to check a bag, so travelers should consider carrying on everything. Maybe in the past there have been difficulties fitting everything in the carry-on.

The Week offers the following recommendations to help reduce fees when flying.

  • Use a carry-on without wheels because the wheel-frame can take up to 40 percent of the bag's volume.

  • Before you book a flight, consider the value of free checked bags. If you must check two bags, that could cost around $60. So look for an airline flying to your destination that doesn't charge baggage fees. Kayak has an airline fees chart to compare carriers.

  • Weigh your bag before leaving for the airport for an international flight so you aren't charged for an overweight bag.

  • Do not pay to board early. If you're concerned about bin space, picking a window seat near the back of the cabin will usually get you on board ahead of others.

  • If you're buying your ticket online, avoid checking the insurance box. Your credit card or AAA membership may have you covered at no extra charge.

  • Don't buy on-board WiFi. The service can be spotty in-flight. Send your emails before you take off.

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