They always mark it up, or there's always some taxes involved." "It's never a straight-up deal." "Usually the deals I get are not where I want to go at the time I want to go." When you try to snag a great airfare online, sometimes it can vanish into thin air. That's what Consumer Reports' Tod Marks found when he investigated how to cut the cost of flying. "You see a lot of airfare deals out there that sound great. But hidden fees, fine print, and blackout dates can make locking in a great deal as tricky as a soft landing in turbulence." Take this Travelocity "deal" on a round-trip flight from Philadelphia to London for 277 dollars. Once you book, it actually costs almost 666 dollars! Tod Marks, "Spirit Airlines promotes flights that cost as a little as nine dollars! But to qualify you have to join its nine-dollar club, which costs around sixty bucks, and you also may be subject to a lot of additional fees." And those additional fees could include up to 45 dollars for each piece of checked luggage, up to 40 dollars per carry-on, and one to 199 dollars for a reserved seat. Tod Marks, "Now there are ways to get a great deal on a flight. Ideally, you want to book in advance, and never within two weeks of travel." And take advantage of alerts that many airlines and travel sites let you set up to track fares. And time your purchase! Tod Marks, "Experts tell us there really is a best time to book. And that's at 3 PM Eastern Standard Time on a Tuesday. Believe it or not, that's when the greatest number of discount seats hit the market."
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- Back-to-school shopping is the second biggest spending spree of the year, according to the National Retail Federation.
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- a just-released Consumer Reports' survey found that 59 percent of people look for foods labeled "natural" when they shop. But Consumer Reports says it's essentially meaningless claim.