This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
As you might imagine, it's not cheap to run an airline -- expensive planes, costly fuel, etc. That's why, in recent years, airlines have been looking to ancillary fees -- baggage fees, reservation change fees, food and drink fees, and the list keeps growing -- to turn a profit. So far, it's worked. It's worked so well, in fact, that the International Air Transport Association says that without it "the industry would be making a loss from its core seat and cargo products." Here's a look at just how important ancillaries have become for the industry:
Fortunately, Fast Company uncovered some innovative jackets to help you avoid airline fees. The only catch: they're hideous. Sure, we've all put on a few extra layers of clothes to avoid the luggage weight limit. But these jackets take that idea to another level.
Jaktogo is one of these products. A huge black jacket with extra large pockets to help you avoid paying to check a bag or to fit things that wouldn't it in your carry on luggage. They can fit as much as 33 extra pounds of stuff. But, not surprisingly, the Jaktogo has competitors. Notably, the equally hideous Rufus Roo and The Stuffa, a more modest jacket -- which actually looks like one -- that holds 11 pounds of stuff.
They're not the only way to beat baggage fees. If you're looking for a less embarrassing way to fit more into your carry-on luggage, The New York Times suggests vacuum-sealed bags. The benefit: You can fit roughly three times as many clothes in your carry-on luggage. The drawback: it doesn't make the clothes any lighter. Also, wrinkles.
Of course, you can avoid all of this if you fly an airline, like Southwest, that doesn't charge for (your first two) checked bags. Or try a credit card that waives baggage fees.
But with baggage fees and airfares continuing to rise it's difficult to rely on one airline to always have the best deal. Maybe it's best to take the all-of-the-above approach.