CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich (WOOD) - - Though discount airline Allegiant Air began their non-stop GrandRapids-to-Florida flights this week, frequent fliers are advisingto watch the add-on fees airlines charge.
Allegiant charges fees for premiere seats, luggage and optionsto change your flight. There are also numerous taxes tacked on toeach one-way fare, and fees may add on as much as $100 perticket.
Allegiant also warns fliers it closes its counter 45 minutesbefore flights take off. So if you're late, you'll have to leaveyour luggage behind if you want to catch the plane. And airlinesare getting very strict these days about what is small enough toconstitute a carry-on. Bags being checked have to be under 50pounds or you'll face another surcharge.
An initial check of fares this week shows that Allegiant has yetto have any big impact on fares. For example, Allegiant's fares toOrlando this month out of Grand Rapids range from $197 to $457 (notincluding baggage fees). On Expedia, fares on other airlines rangedfrom $310 to $463. The flight typically includes a stops in othercities.
Northwest offers a non-stop flight out of Grand Rapids toOrlando for $469. But if you want to fly super cheap, the bestchoices are still out of Detroit and Chicago. The lowest fare toOrlando appears to be $159. Of course, travelers have to add in thecost and time of the drive. The highest fare out of Detroit was$253.
Grand Rapids is in need of more competitive fares. Fares havegone up steadily since the region lost its last discount carrier,ATA, to bankruptcy. Fliers have been driving to Detroit and Chicagoseeking lower fares.
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