Budgeting on the Fly: How Much Extra It Will Cost You

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In this recessionary economy getting from one coast to another in comfort, and staying on a budget, isn’t easy. As gas prices continue to rise, U.S. airlines are tacking on fees and raising existing prices wherever they can. That is why it is a good idea to know how much petty cash you’re going to need while you’re sitting in coach just in case you would like to enjoy a Budweiser (BUD) in flight or in some cases, a water.

The good news is there are still some ways to save. For instance, bringing your own headphones on a Delta (DAL) flight saves you two bucks. Here is MainStreet's guide to how some of the top U.S. airlines add up in terms on additional costs. (The "tab for two" is the approximate amount a couple traveling with two bags should bring if they want to eat a meal, with one partner ordering an alcoholic beverage, and then to enjoy some in-flight entertainment (with their own headphones, natch).

DELTA
In-Flight Entertainment: Delta provides complimentary movies, OnDemand channels, and music for guests with their own headphones. For those without, headphones can be purchased in air for $2.
Beverages: Non-alcoholic drinks are complimentary. Alcoholic drinks, which include beer, wine and cocktails, cost $5 or $6.
Snacks and Food: On flights longer that one hour, guests receive a complimentary item from the Snack Basket which includes, cookies, peanuts, and crackers. On flights longer than an hour and a half, guests can purchase items from the EATS All Day Goodies. These items include Dove chocolate bars, Emerald’s nuts, Pringles, or vitaminwater for $3, peanut M&M’s, and Clif Mojo Bars for $2, and animal crackers for $1. On flights longer than a two hours, guests can purchase items from the EATS menu in addition to the EATS All Day Goodies. The EATS menu offers fruit and cheese for $6, a smoked turkey sandwich for $7, a strawberry cheese Crepe for $4, a fried chicken sandwich for $8, a grilled shrimp Caesar salad for $10, and a mushroom pea orzo for $8.
Checked Luggage Fee: Free for the first bag, $25 for a second bag.
TAB FOR TWO: $46 ($21 in cash, the bag fee can be charged.)

SOUTHWEST (LUV)
In-Flight Entertainment: Southwest provides copies of its Southwest Airlines Spirit magazine onboard.
Beverages: Non-alcoholic drinks are complimentary. Energy drinks are $3 while beer, wine and cocktails are $4.
Snacks and Food: On flights shorter than 600 miles in length, guests will be served complimentary peanuts or pretzels. On nonstop flights that are 601 to 1270 miles long, guests will be served a packaged snack appropriate to the time of day. On flights longer than 1271 miles, guests will be served their choice of snacks from the Select-A-Snack box which features three different snack options. While Southwest does not serve sandwiches or meals, guests are welcome to bring their own food onboard.
Checked Luggage Fee: Free for two bags.
TAB FOR TWO: $4 (Cash only, please.)

NORTHWEST (NWA)
In-Flight Entertainment: Complimentary movies are available for guests flying on trans-Atlantic flights.
Beverages: Non-alcoholic beverages are complimentary. Alcoholic beverages cost $5.
Snacks and Food: Pringles, Snack Mix, M&M's, and Twizzlers for $3, a la carte Snack Boxes for $5, fruit and cheese or vegetables with ranch dip for $7, and breakfast, lunch or dinner meals for $10.
Checked Luggage Fee: Free for the first bag, $25 for a second bag
TAB FOR TWO: $50 ($25 in cash, the bag fee can be charged).

JETBLUE (JBLU)
In-Flight Entertainment: jetBlue provides its guests with 100 channels of XM Satellite Radio, 36 channels of DirectTV, movies, and music for free.
Beverages: Non-alcoholic drinks are complimentary. Alcoholic beverages cost $5. (Only credit cards will be accepted).
Snacks and Food: Complimentary snacks like chips, cookies, nuts and crackers are available on all flights.
Checked Luggage Fee: Free for the first bag, $25 for a second bag.
TAB FOR TWO: $30 (Only credit cards are accepted).



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