the giant air travel rip off

My brother is coming to visit next month as he has gallery exhibition in town (fun!), so he just sent me his itinerary. I was astounded by the number of "add on" expenses he paid on top of his fare!

He booked with Jetstar, the low-cost airline. His flights were $79 one way, $89 back, $168 total.

Then there was a $3 per flight "standard seat selection" fee ($6 return - premium seats are up to $18 each) and a $7 per flight credit card surcharge - that's $14 for one return flight! On his return fare of $168, that's almost 10% for the credit card fee! That should be illegal.

Optional extras that he didn't selected included a $4 per flight "priority boarding" fee, which allows you to board the plane prior to everyone else.

And he's only got carry on luggage: if you want any check in luggage, that's an extra $10 per flight.

So all up, you can pay $7 credit card fee, $4 priority boarding fee, up to $18 seat selection fee plus a $10 luggage charge. Jebus!! In total, that's a whopping $39 in extra fees... each flight!! And you haven't even paid for an in-flight coffee yet.

You can also opt to hold the booking for up to 48 hours for a fee of $5, during which time you arrange payment.

Plus, you'll pay for your snacks on board: $3 for a chocolate bar, $4 for a muffin. You know the drill.

Of course, you don't have to pay any of these extra charges if you elect not to. You can even avoid the credit card fees if you pay by direct deposit. But all of these hidden charges can sneak up on you, and transform a cheeky cheap flight into a pretty pricey trip. Suddenly, Qantas is looking pretty fabulous!