Weekend getaways used to mean shelling out the money for two economy class tickets, packing up two bags and heading to the airport (don't forget to leave instructions for the pet sitter) and then enjoying the pleasures of flying, like that free Coke (KO).
Not anymore. 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 travel with a little extra cash just in case you would like to enjoy a beer 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 United flight saves you a Lincoln. 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).)AMERICAN AIRLINES (AMR)
No Cash Needed: According to their website, American Airlines is the first major U.S. airline to offer the flexibility to pay for food, alcoholic beverages and headsets with credit cards or debit cards, in addition to cash, onboard all flights. The flight attendants use state-of-the-art wireless handheld devices to quickly swipe your card and provide a receipt for the transaction.
In-Flight Entertainment: Movies and music are complimentary when passengers travel with their own headphones. For those without, headphones can be purchased for $2 in air.
Beverages: Non-alcoholic beverages are complimentary. Alcoholic beverages, including wine, liquors and beer, are $6.
Snacks and Food: Snack options, which include nuts, chips and cookies, are offered on flights longer than 2 hours for $3. Light Meals are available on flights longer than 3 hours for $6.