Advice for Reserving a Flight

It is easy to reserve a flight with a few clicks on the internet. However, a mistake in your name, additional charges for checked baggage, or a pre-checked box for insurance can cost you a lot!

Follow our advice to avoid bad surprises while reserving a flight with an airline company, a travel agency, or online reservation platform.

Tips before confirming your reservation online

Before confirming your reservation, check over your choices because you do not have the right to withdraw of 14 days for a cancelled flight reserved on line.

  • Compare offers (with meals or not, check in fee paid online or at the airport, additional baggage, seat reservation, etc.) between various airlines and between a chosen company and a reservation platform. Please note that reservation platforms usually charge additional fees for their intermediary services.
  • Do not be influenced by offers with reduced prices or by how many people are considering the same flight and the number of seats still available
  • Verify the date of your reserved flight
  • Were your first name, last name, and birth date all entered correctly? Such changes to a reservation generally require payment.
  • Is the check-in of your baggage included in the price of the ticket?
  • Before you finish your booking, you should check all the information, especially the price. It may happen that the price displayed at the beginning of the booking process has increased during the booking process (e.g. service fees of a booking intermediary, fees for additional services such as a seat reservation or additional baggage).
  • If you reserved connecting flights separately, leave yourself enough time to change flights.
  • Learn about your rights! In the event of cancelation, delay, or unjustified rejected boarding by the airline company, you often have the right to compensation.

Beware of hidden charges on plane tickets

In principle, airline companies, like all travel agencies and travel intermediaries who sell flights out of the European Union, must specify the exact price (with taxes included) that must be paid at the beginning of the booking process.

But in practice, many hidden fees can raise the price of a plane ticket: insurance cancellation, check-in at the airport, additional baggage, choice of seat number, etc. 

Fees for intermediary service

If you book through a booking intermediary you should be aware that these companies usually charge fees for their intermediary services.

Most booking intermediaries include these fees into the displayed price. However some intermediaries display the price without these fees at the beginning and add these fees only during the booking process, when consumers stop paying attention to the price. 

Cancellation of travel insurance

Always verify that this option is not pre-checked in your reservation. If you do not uncheck it, it will generally add about 15 euros to the price and it will be difficult to get reimbursement.

Verify as well if your credit card offers cancellation insurance.


Every company has its own rules for the transport of baggage.

Regarding carry-on baggage, it is free with the majority of airlines but others have started charging for it. Usually you have to respect a certain weight and size limit. Verify directly from the airline’s website the max weight and size of baggage allowed in the cabin to avoid having yours added to checked baggage, which will incur a charge.

Regarding checked baggage, companies are charging for it more and more often. Be informed! Verify the allowed weight.

Ban on charges for using certain modes of payment

Additional charges for payment by credit card, bank transfer, or direct debit in euros are prohibited throughout the European Union (Payment Services Directive 2). 

However, some booking intermediaries still do apply those charges, e. g. some booking intermediaries have their own credit card. If you use that credit card for the payment, the consumer will receive a price discount. Often this credit card is pre-selected, so that the indicated price at the beginning of the booking process already includes this discounted price. 

If you change the means of payment, the discount no longer applies, so the price increases.

Printing a boarding pass

Many companies offer online check-in. In that case you must then print your boarding pass yourself or check in on your smartphone. If you don’t, airline companies are allowed to charge you for printing your boarding pass at the airport (about 40 € per ticket). 

Choosing your seat number

With many airlines, you have to pay to choose a specific seat. Likewise, if you are traveling with others and wish to sit next to each other, you will have to pay a surcharge to do so.

What taxes and fees are there on a plane ticket?

In the price of a flight are many taxes that vary between countries and airports, such as:

  • air traffic tax 
  • aviation security fees  

The air traffic tax and the aviation security fees are reimbursable in the event of flight cancellation by the company or yourself.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Innovation Council and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Executive Agency (EISMEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.