NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Finding a bargain flight can be overwhelming, but when you nab a cheap ticket, you may be paying in other ways.

As CBS2’s Scott Rapoport reported, getting the cheapest fares possible is the holy grail of air travel for many.

“It’s probably the most important thing.” said one traveler.

“A good rate is gonna make you travel more often,” said another.

For some, that means turning to so-called ultra low-cost carriers like Spirit, Frontier Airlines and Allegiant Air.

But experts warn that along with those bargains could come some other issues you never bargained for.

“You can find that there will be extra baggage fees. You’ll have to pay for food on board. There will be lots and lots of little things tacked on,” said travel expert Mark Ellwood.

Ellwood said situations like these and others are not uncommon.

On a travel website, one Allegiant Air review stated “If I could give negative stars, I would. Filthy (plane), both flights late.”

And a Spirit reviewer stated “Spirit has a lot of hidden fees that aren’t factored into the initial price.”

“You don’t want to get on there and find you have to pay for everything — a glass of water. That’s a stressful way to travel,” said Ellwood.

So what do you need to know about the airlines when you book a flight?

Experts say there are three things: complaints, on-time rates, and potential hidden costs.

And that websites like and can help you with that — comparing and contrasting those things with different airlines.

“They tell you how much stress you will endure as well as how much it will cost,” said Ellwood. “And they can also help you deal with ‘is that plane likely to be on time?'”

And as for the best time to buy those holiday plane tickets at the cheapest rates? Book as far ahead of time as possible.

CBS2 reached out to all three airlines and only Spirit responded, saying when you book on the extra costs are made clear.


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