'The jacket' to beat budget airline fees

Since my ITV 'Beat Budget Airlines' programme last Thursday night (watch it), I've been swamped by people asking: "Where do you get the jacket?"

So here's the answer & more ...

  • The 22-pocket jacket. Travelling with just hand luggage saves the whopping £40 return per case charges. Yet you can only take 10kg max, so the solution is to take a multi-pocket jacket too (pictured, right), stuff it like a fat suit, wear it to board, then shove it in the overhead storage. I've not heard of anyone being rejected (yet).

    To push it to the max, I used a 22-pocket US Scottevest to fit a laptop, towels, books & more. Yet it ain't cheap, so check your closet, try camping stores for things like Regattas or Zebcos and look out for jackets with 'poacher's pouches' in army surplus shops - at £20ish they're less than the baggage charges.

  • Take light bags and wear heavy clothes. Always wear the heaviest clothes you're taking and don't use big, solid, heavy, metal luggage. If you've only 15kg, the bag's own weight could eat half of it.

  • Find sub-£10 flights. Budget airlines often advertise sub-£10 flights, yet finding them's a nightmare, while many have exclusions. To find the best deals for the time you want to go, use the flightchecker.

    Currently, until Thursday, Ryanair is offering £9 each way European flights including most taxes & charges in September and October to over 40 destinations.

  • How to avoid booking fees. Most budget airlines charge up to £10 per person return if you pay by credit OR debit card. Yet get a prepaid Mastercard for Ryanair (FairFx* is cheapest), or Visa Electron for others (Post Office is cheapest), to pay on and it's free.

  • More bags doesn't mean more weight. Beware, booking a 2nd bag doesn't mean your weight limit increases, just that you can spread it around more bags.

  • Avoid airline travel insurance - get a year's for £14. Book a flight and airline travel insurance may be auto-selected (even though that breaks EU law). Instead, consider a year's policy for roughly the same cost, eg, Single £14, Family £28, Over 65s £29. For FULL info see Cheap Travel Insurance.

These are just the beginning, for an airline-by-airline guide, see Beat Budget Airline Fees.

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