How to save your holiday cash with this guide
Posted On June 21, 2021
Travel agents have long used a system known as gate receipts to help make booking decisions.
But they’ve recently been adding a third step — a charge to your credit card — to help pay for travel expenses.
For some, that fee is an extra $25 to $50 per day they spend on a trip.
But for others, it’s a big deal.
“The fee can add up and it can be a big reason why people don’t book,” said David Shoup, president of travel booking agency Shoup Travel.
“It’s not that the cost is too high, but the fact that it’s there and they have to pay for it makes it really difficult for people to book.”
For most travelers, the fee will only come into play when they have enough time on their hands to make a decision.
For some, it may only be a temporary boost.
For others, the cost of the ticket can be significant.
Trevor Jones, a former Delta pilot, said the fee made him reconsider his trip to Turkey.
Jones said he booked a ticket for a flight to Istanbul on March 9, and the flight was delayed.
Then, after a flight from Istanbul to the U.S. in the evening, Jones said, he found out the fee was $75.
He said he tried to cancel but was told the ticket was “valid.”
“That’s when I decided to take the risk and cancel my ticket and pay the $75,” Jones said.
After the trip, Jones realized the cost would likely increase if he was to return to Turkey in the middle of the night.
Jones said he and his wife decided to cancel their trip in April after trying to book the flight on a different flight to Turkey, which cost $120.
The fee would have meant another $30 in costs for them, he said.
“We had a lot of stress on that trip,” Jones told The Hill.
“I just want to thank them for making this option available.”
Some travel agents say it’s not a bad idea to consider the fee as an added cost when booking a flight.
DeeAnn Miller, president and CEO of GateTrip.com, said agents should always keep an eye out for fees on travel purchases and should consider whether to include it in their bookings.
“It’s always a good idea to ask a travel agent for an upfront cost to help ensure your booking is as affordable as possible,” Miller said.
“However, it can sometimes be difficult to find a reliable travel agent with the knowledge and experience to make this kind of decision.”
For others who have decided to go the extra mile, the fees could be a blessing in disguise.
“The fees are a great way to support the airline and the industry and help them cover the cost and get their flights booked,” said Jason Bock, an airline and airline pilot.
“But for the airlines, the best way to offset the fees is to book on another flight.
It’s a win-win situation.”
Others have found that they don’t need to book at all.
Lena McAfee, a travel and travel marketing specialist, said she made $1,000 per day in gate receipts and was able to use that to purchase a ticket to Paris.
When she flew from Atlanta to Paris, she found out she would be charged a $25 fee for her ticket, but that she would only be able to redeem it for a free ticket on another route to Paris on another day.
“I didn’t really understand it at the time, but I was really grateful to the agents for making the travel arrangements,” McAfee said.
McAfee said she plans to book a ticket with GateTip this fall to Berlin.
The fee could be added to the price of a ticket, she said.
For many travelers, booking a trip that requires a fee is a smart way to save money and keep expenses down.
If you’re thinking about booking a vacation or holiday, here are a few things you can do to save: Avoid booking a new trip that’s cheaper than what you initially budgeted.
Consider booking a cheaper vacation or vacation package instead of buying a ticket.
Avoid a holiday or vacation that requires you to purchase tickets on another airline.
Take a trip when you’re tired, which can also help cut your costs.
Get a list of travel agents that offer the best rates and tips on how to maximize your savings.
Read our full guide to avoiding a trip with a gate receipts charge.