Flight fees are on the rise — here’s how to avoid them

Booking a flight has become a complex and confusing process, and it isn’t getting better any time soon.

American Airlines AAL, -1.69% for example, has divided travelers into nine different classes, from its invite-only Concierge Key program — which lets flyers breeze through security and board the plane first — down to “basic economy,” who board last and aren’t allowed to use overhead bins. And a whole range of different classes in between.

This is just one effect of the “unbundling” of services — a practice that saves airlines money and hits unsuspecting passengers in the wallet, consumer advocates say.

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