Air travel in the modern era is all about fees. There are higher ticket prices for checking a bag, charges for those instances when you need headphones or a snack on a cross-country flight, and of course, those fees that give you the honor of assisting in an emergency, a.k.a. the “extra room” exit aisle seats.
If you do choose to upgrade your way out of the cattle pens of traditional coach, be it through a first class ticket or a premium economy seat, beware that your cushy seat could be pulled out from under you—with barely any refund, as writer and consultant Chris Matyszczyk points out over at Inc.
Airlines reserve the right to overbook flights and bump passengers, including putting them in seats that cost a lot less than the one they paid for. But even if you do let your extra legroom go without a fight (not that you have much choice), getting your money back is harder than you’d think. Airlines usually will refund you the difference of the tickets, but with a catch: They give you the price difference between what you paid and the day-of cost of the seat you end up actually sitting in. And airline tickets purchased on the day of the flight are obviously pretty pricey, a lot more so than the coach-class ticket you’d have bought if you initially knew you’d be bumped to that section of the plane anyway. Sometimes, those day-of coach tickets might even cost more than a first-class ticket bought weeks in advance.
And of course, you’ll most likely have to chase down those refunds yourself. Good luck with that holiday travel, everyone!