Save money by buying your flight at the airport ticket counter

A TikTok video claims that you can save a lot of money at the airport if you buy your ticket there, but this tip only applies to airlines that charge online booking fees.

It’s almost time for the holiday season to kick in and that means people are looking for cheap flight deals.

CHECK viewer Gayle shared this TikTok video with our team that claims you can save some serious money by buying your ticket at the airport instead of booking online. As of October 26, the video has over 1 million views.

THE QUESTION

Can you save money by buying a plane ticket at the airport?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

Yes, you can save money by buying a plane ticket at the airport. However, according to travel experts, this tip only applies to ultra-low cost airlines that charge online booking fees.

WHAT WE FOUND

The TikTok video refers to fees that ultra-low-cost airlines, such as Allegiant Air, Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines, typically charge customers for booking through their websites.

Allegiant Air charges its customers an Electronic Carrier Usage Charge when they book a flight online. The airline’s website states, “rates shown include an electronic usage fee of $18 per passenger, per segment, applicable to all airline reservations booked through the website or call center.”

According to airfarewatchdog, a go-to resource for airfare and hotel deals, this fee can be avoided if you buy your ticket at the Allegiant Air ticket counter at the airport. However, Airfarewatchdog says that Allegiant often offers a “roundtrip discount” for tickets booked on its website, which may not apply to tickets booked at the airport. Customers also have a limited time frame in which to book at the Allegiant ticket counter, as airline operating hours differ at each airport.

Meanwhile, Frontier Airlines charges a Carrier Interface Charge, which is between $4 and $21 per leg, for all fares booked online, according to airfarewatchdog. Frontier describes this fee as the standard fare price that the airline displays online, including a fee per passenger, per segment, which is charged on tickets purchased through the website or call center. Airfarewatchdog says Frontier also has a limited schedule for customers to purchase tickets at the ticket counters.

“A general rule of thumb is that the ticket counter opens two hours before a scheduled departure time, and I plan to be there exactly when it opens to avoid a long line. If there are no other flights, the ticket offices usually close 45 minutes before departure,” said airfarewatchdog.

Spirit Airlines customers may be required to pay the airline’s Passenger Usage Fee, which currently can be up to $22.99 per leg if they book online. According to airfarewatchdog, this fee can be avoided by booking a flight at the Spirit Airlines ticket counter at the airport. However, Airfarewatchdog says Spirit’s other booking-related fees, such as the airlines’ Regulatory Compliance Charge and Fuel Charge, are still collected when a person buys their ticket at the airport, which sometimes doesn’t apply to online purchases.

When it comes to other airlines, such as Delta, United, and Southwest, they don’t charge an online booking fee, so it’s usually cheaper to buy their tickets online.

More from VERIFY: No, US airlines have not introduced a checked baggage fee as a result of 9/11

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