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Travel Much?

Nancy Jackson - Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Last summer, I used an international no-frills airline for the first time ever. A Spanish airline named Vueling got me to Catania and I had no complaints. The one-way flight was so fast, inexpensive and easy-breezy that I decided to do the reverse when I traveled back from Palermo. The return trip was a complete 180 due to bad weather across Italy. The flight was about twice the price and literally took all day but it was not all Vueling’s fault. I arrived at Palermo’s airport at 9:30 a.m. and finally departed at 10 p.m. bound for Rome -- so much for shopping and one final Italian gelato that I had planned on my last day instead I read two entire e-novels at the airport! I was notified by fellow passengers that the European Union has a law requiring EU transportation carriers to compensate travelers if they are stranded for more than 3 hours, depending on the distance traveled. So I was rewarded with 250 Euro for my inconvenience, which paid for my flight back to Rome and those dreaded baggage fees!

Here are some Excerpts from

Airlines have already been charging more for the space below deck, namely the baggage hold as fewer airlines permit free checked luggage. But what about the space above your head? Yes, that too is now up for sale and we're not talking about a budget carrier this time.

The mad scramble to board in economy class has more to do with being able to fit your carry-on luggage than being among the first to sit. One major U.S. airline has introduced a bare-bones basic fare in economy that comes complete with, well, nothing – not even guaranteed space overhead. That is, unless you pay for it. People who book United's basic coach fares can expect to pay more to have the space above them available for hand luggage, though not exclusively. "Overhead space is shared space", we often hear flight attendants announce. For the budget traveler boarding a flight with only a small carry-on that will fit under the seat in front, this might be your fare option. This is pretty much how it works on airlines like Spirit Airlines and Ryanair. The smaller carry-on goes with the small seat bought for a small price. For everything else, you have to pay up – even for a carry-on bag destined for the overhead bin. Now, with overhead space in the pay-for-play mode, larger carriers see an opportunity to cash in on one of the most anxiety-inducing parts of boarding a flight in coach – finding space for your carry-on luggage.

United Airlines is not the only major full-service carrier that has dipped its wing tip into the budget airline pool to lure travelers flying on the cheap. The airline, along with American and Delta have all announced a basic fare offering that barely comes with a seat – especially since you can't reserve it until check-in time. People who purchase these basic fares cannot reserve seats in advance, and cannot accrue miles.

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