Airport survival guide—we want your tips!

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Send us your best flight–travel tips—and you could be featured in an upcoming issue of Budget Travel!

From avoiding those pesky, ever–present baggage fees to debating the merits of x–ray scans versus pat–downs, few topics ignite more heated responses among the Budget Travel faithful than airline travel.

Add–on fees seem to get the majority of media attention. A New York Times article this week for instance, noted that hidden fees added some $21.5 billion (!!!) worldwide to airfares in 2010.

In a recent online poll, BT readers singled out baggage fees as the "most outrageous," but these days, there are so many hidden costs attributed to air travel that it's hard to pinpoint any one culprit as the real problem. Alongside baggage fees, there are also change fees, exit–row fees, fuel surcharges, and who–knows–what–else.

But to me, these hidden fees—and the resulting rising cost of flights—are just the tip of the iceberg. It's not as if the hundreds we pony up for a flight buys us a comfortable passage, and that's my biggest frustration.

Even with a ticket in hand, you still have to arrive hours before departure, discard all liquids and shell out $6 for bottled water, take off your shoes in public, and be at the will of commonplace delays and cancellations.

And, again: We pay a lot to do this.

Of course, I'm the first to agree that the benefits and joys of travel far outweigh the annoyances of flying. But why does it have to be so unpleasant? Surely there are ways to make the whole ordeal more bearable—perhaps even enjoyable.

With that lofty goal in mind, we at Budget Travel are devoting an upcoming section of the magazine to helping you improve your air–travel experiences—from booking your ticket (and dodging those fees!) to killing time at the gate.

Of course we know better than to leave our most trusted experts—that'd be you, reader community—out of this process. So please give us your best tips for air travel in the comments section, below. We'll select the best to feature in our article.

I can't wait to glean a few strategies from your playbook!


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