From seat assignments to in-flight meals to upgrades to, of course, baggage, you can spend a lot more on a flight than you originally planned.
Airfare search engines are adapting to a new world of fees, however, and KAYAK has now redesigned its site to take some of the guesswork out of choosing the best flight based on your personal travel needs.
Now, when users search KAYAK for a flight, the “assistant” at the top of the results can be customized for carry-on and checked baggage. Results are then refreshed to show which flights are the best price based on bringing zero, one, or more bags.
For example, on a search for flights from New York City to Los Angeles, Frontier has the cheapest fare (listed below the sponsored fare).
But anyone familiar with Frontier knows that the budget airline has fees for baggage. Adjusting the fee assistant, the results add the price of a bag in and offer the Delta flight as the cheapest.
The results also note when a fare is “basic economy,” and include the price for regular economy below.
Since more and more airlines are introducing fare classes with more restrictions, results could even change based on carry-on baggage, which is included in the assistant.
(What the assistant will not show, in this case, is the relative value of the flight in terms of other amenities, like in-flight food, or relative comfort, like seat pitch.)
The new features offer a new level of fee transparency and a great way to budget, while also offering motivation for being an efficient packer.