Which Airlines Charge the Highest Hidden Fees?

A new analysis showed some airlines charge far more for "add-ons" than others.

Airline hidden fees have long been the final boss of traveling—unavoidable, unstoppable, and generally speaking, just a pain that hinders you from having a good time. They're such a bother that even the president has been making moves to rid travelers from them, though it's still going to be some time before we actually see the improvements become reality.

Some airlines, though, are worse than others. A new study by NetVoucherCodes, an online platform that aims to help customers save money, analyzed just that, and managed to rank both US and international airlines according to which ones are the worst when it comes to hidden fees.

To come up with the results, the company built a seed list of the world's top airlines, and then proceeded to create a route for each one that resulted in the same amount of time spent in the air when leaving on the same day. Then, the team calculated how many additional fees were added to the base ticket fare for a variety of extras, including carry-on baggage, checked bag, seat selection, fast-tracked boarding, insurance, and onboard Wi-Fi.

When comparing the US to the rest of the world, the news isn't good. The average hidden fees in the US for an airline totaled $78.04, which is substantially higher than both Europe's average of $57.79 and the international carriers' average of $33.27. Plus, while that isn't necessarily a shocker, 100% of US airlines charge for various add-ons, while internationally the global percentage of airlines charging hidden fees stands at a somewhat lower 89%.

Reportedly, Spirit Airlines is the worst of them all. According to the report, Spirit charged an average of 736% on top of the airfare. Looking at the numbers, that means that for a $21.89 fare, you should expect to be charged an extra $161.12 in hidden fees, with the heftiest charges being those for additional baggage and seat selection.

In order, Spirit is followed by Volaris—a Mexican low-cost airline—and Frontier. Take a look at the ranking of the worst airlines in terms of hidden fees charges below. Next to it, you can see the percentage of these "hidden" add-on costs versus the airline's base airfare.

1. Spirit Airlines: 736%
2. Volaris: 626%
3. Frontier: 376%
4. Sun Country Airlines: 201%
5. Delta Air Lines: 158%
6. JetBlue: 147%
7. United Airlines: 122%
8. Allegiant Air: 107%
9. Alaska Airlines: 105%
10. American Airlines: 95%

But don't worry—if you act smart, you can avoid some of the most common hidden fees and reduce the price increase. As Rebecca Bebbington, a money travel expert at NetVoucherCodes, points out, in addition to opting for a carry-on (which is usually free) instead of a checked bag, you can also be a little more patient when it comes to seat selection.

"Consider skipping seat selection during booking and try selecting seats for free during online check-in, within the 24-hour window," Bebbington said in a statement released to Thrillist. "If you're traveling in a group, book tickets together to increase the chances of being seated together without paying extra for seat selection."

For more tips and to take a look at the complete study, you can visit this website.

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Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.