10 Ways to Game the Airlines

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2009 7:34 PM CDT
Travelers queue up at the ticketing counter for Continental Airlines at Denver International Airport.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Airlines offer more than you know—and would rather you didn't know about it. The Chicago Tribune runs down a list of ways to benefit from airline secrets:

  • Complain early and often: Whatever the problem, "airlines tend to buy grouchy passengers off with frequent-flier miles."
  • Travel agents work magic: Want a first-class seat for coach fare, or a code on your ticket that automatically upgrades your seat? Call an agency.

  • Wait until the gate: Upgrades to first-class at the ticket counter may be pricey at $500 or so, "but it's a LOT cheaper than if you'd booked first class to begin with."
  • Travel agents again: Many of the best deals never reach online clearinghouses like Expedia. Agents "have access to net and consolidator fares that the discount sites do not."
  • Round trip is cheaper: Instead of buying a nearly $700 one-way return from a hunting trip, Antonin Scalia booked a $218 round-trip flight home. Take it from a Supreme Court justice.
  • Rule 240: Sounds top secret, "but really it's simple: If the airline can't get you where you're going on time, the airline MUST put you on a competitor's flight if it will get you there faster."
For the full list, click the link below.