Summer Vacation Flyers: Find Your Profile, Find a Cheaper Flight

When it comes to summer travel, different passengers have different wants and needs but topping most lists is how to save money. We have some excellent tips to help you do exactly that in our new Summer Travel Guide but the following advice is specific to your flyer profile.

It’s simple, really: Find your profile, save on vacation costs.

LISTEN: More ways to save from Rick Seaney.

Summer Vacation Profiles and Tips

Maybe just one of these profiles fits you; maybe several do.

Flyer Profile: Thirsty traveler

  • What to Know: You like carrying big water bottles but know it’ll get confiscated and dumped at security. Next time, bring an empty bottle and fill up beyond the checkpoint at one of the many new designated water refill stations. These differ from regular fountains in that they’re designed to handle large bottles without spilling the water all over you. Find them in airport terminals in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago (O’Hare and Midway), Denver, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Seattle and more.

Flyer Profile: Portly passenger

  • What to Know: We’ve all heard stories about overweight travelers kicked off flights because they “encroached” on another passenger’s seating area. That’s got to be incredibly embarrassing but the usual airline solution isn’t any better; they tell “customers of size” to buy two seats – you know, pay double. Southwest has a better idea: Large passengers are still asked to book two seats but after the flight they will get a refund for one of the seats – even if the airline oversells. I’m am unaware of any other airline that does this and kudos to Southwest.

Flyer Profile: Late traveler

  • What to Know: You always leave for the airport late. Sure, you’re a whiz at maneuvering through traffic and glide into airport parking. Checking bags? No problem! Then you hit the line at security and it all goes to heck. Join PreCheck; its only $85 for a five year membership and you can keep your shoes on as you zip through the checkpoint. Even better, join Global Entry which eases your way through international travel and includes PreCheck (and it’s just a couple of bucks more per year). Learn more here.

Flyer Profile: Pack-it-all passenger

  • What to Know: Go ahead, pack everything in your closet but oh will you pay for it. Some airlines charge up to $200 (one-way) and that’s in addition to the regular $50 baggage fee. On certain international flights, overweight fees can soar to $450. It’s so easy to save money, pack light and travel with a free carry-on (free except on the three airlines mentioned in the next profile).

Flyer Profile: Pack-only-what-you-need passenger

  • What to Know: You’re the smart ones. If heading to a beach, you wear something nice on the plane with ‘real’ shoes and that’s your go-to nice outfit; everything else (sandals, bathing suits,T-shirts) get packed in a carry-on. But what if you’re flying an airline that charges for carry-ons such as Allegiant, Frontier or Spirit? Use a smaller or squashable bag that fits under the seat in front of you and you won’t pay a dime.

Flyer Profile: Family with kids flyer

  • What to Know: If you travel with little ones, see our Kids Travel Guide for what to pack in your ‘distractions and bribes’ bag. Go ahead, break your own rules on cookies and candy; we won’t judge. Be sure to include goodies for adult seatmates, too; when babies start screaming it’s nice to be able to pass out packets of ear plugs, a box of chocolates or best of all – offer to buy a round of drinks.

Flyer Profile: Fragile flyer

  • What to Know: Don’t expect the flight attendant to hoist your carry-on into the overhead bin; some airlines don’t allow them to do this because it can cause injuries over time. Politely ask a seatmate for help or opt for a checked-bag, still free on Southwest and (for the moment) JetBlue.

Flyer Profile: Ultimate cheapskate traveler

  • What to Know: You only fly the cheapest airline and you are convinced that airline is Spirit or Frontier but stop right there! No single airline always has the best fares and ultimate cheapskates always use an airfare comparison site to compare for best priced tickets. Sometimes the cheapest fares will be on Spirit or Frontier, sometimes on the others, but if you don’t compare you won’t know and might pay too much.


Updated: May 14, 2015