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Plane Tickets Fees Included Taxes Excluded Warning

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SUCHITOTO, El Salvador- After nearly 11 years of buying airline tickets, I was nearly tricked by an online flight comparison website. Their initially stated prices in the search results said that fees were included, and I did not care to investigate much further than this: I took the prices that I saw on the list before me to be the actually prices of the flights that I could buy.

I thought wrong.

Airfare results page says that the price includes fees but excludes taxes. This is misleading.

What was actually written in reference to the prices on the search results was “incl. fees, excl. taxes”

Fees included, taxes excluded.

Hey, isn’t there some law that says that online air ticket vendors need to show the full prices of tickets at the beginning of the search?

In my cocksure browsing, I did not read beyond the “incl, fees,” I just looked at the price and selected a flight route. I followed an assumption that the price that I was seeing on the screen was the price of the ticket, I saw that the “fees” were included with the price, and thought nothing more of it — a very normal thing to do, it seems.  I glanced over the fact that the other half of the statement was “excl. taxes.”

Once you believe that something is the truth, it is difficult to observe otherwise — even when the evidence is right in front of you.

Needless to say, the airfares shown on this websites search results were vastly cheaper than on any other website. I clicked through to the purchase page believing that I was getting a super bargain.

I got super duped.

I redoubled as I became aware that the price now present on the payment screen was mysteriously double that which I was initially shown on the search results page.

I then became aware that the taxes were added in at the end.

In an industry where it is now common practice for air ticket vendors to show nearly the full price of the tickets they sell in advance of the payment page, I felt as if this website was perhaps intentionally trying to mislead me.

It is my impression that you either show the price of an air ticket with ALL taxes and fees included, or you show it WITHOUT any of the taxes and fees. This is the standard. Showing “incl. fees, excl. taxes” seems to be a subterfuge to mislead an unsuspecting buyer.

I did not buy this ticket. I did not bite, I clicked away with a laugh at my presumptuousness.

But I am sure that some people do take a away a mouthful, and push the “purchase” button that charges them double what they think they will pay.

Too late, gocha sucker.


Online air ticket vending is often a sneaky industry — there is a lot of competition — the new trick seems to be garnering customer assumptions on the price, and then sneaking in taxes or fees at the end. It is common to think that you are going to pay one price for a flight, and then find out that you are going to have to pay another when you try to buy it. It is my impression that many of these websites do not try too hard to curb customer confusion, perhaps in the hope that they can reel in a person who is walking a little too fast to recheck the price before clicking the purchase button.

And once you push the purchase button to pay for a flight your money is gone — there is no getting it back. Buying airline tickets online is a “consumer beware” sort of industry, you must take responsibility for yourself to not pay more than what you expect to pay. It is not really the airline or the website’s fault if you are in too much of a hurry to reconfirm the amount of money that you are paying — this is their business.

When buying an air ticket online expect tricks, expect additional fees, taxes, and misc expenses added on to the price each time you load the next page — expect that the final cost of the ticket could be twice as much as what  was initially stated. Reconfirm the price of the flight that you are trying to book each time a new page loads in your browser. Check and check the price again before pushing the button.

Air Travel

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Filed under: Air Travel, Travel Safe, Travel Tips

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 80 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3134 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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