Guide to avoiding scams


Coming across booking scams is far more common than you think. From airline extras to comparison site fees and fake travel agencies, there are many booking scams that you should be wary of. Have you ever found a great deal on airplane tickets, only to realise that the baggage fees were way too expensive? Or have you ever tried booking a hotel through a comparison site, and found that you would have to pay additional fees that weren’t included in the price?

These are just a few of the online booking scams you may come across when booking your trip. If you want to save your money, avoid these 4 common scams:


Airline Extras

As you probably know already, every airline offers different travel and fare classes. If you’re travelling on a budget, it makes sense to pay the lowest available fare to book your seat — but this is rarely a convenient option given that the cheapest fare class has many limitations, such as no baggage allowed, or little leg room.

What if you’re travelling with baggage? In that case, you will either have to change your ticket and pay a higher fare to get your baggage on board, or pay an additional baggage fee. Usually, the latter option may seem the most attractive, but the total cost of the airplane tickets + additional baggage fee will probably be higher than if you paid a different fare.

Avoid this scam by: Shopping around for airplane tickets. Check out every airline’s fare classes to learn more about prices and limitations, and consider using Skyscanner to get the best available price.


Cookies and Browsing History

Did you know that many airlines, comparison sites and travel agencies use your browser’s cookies and history to show potentially higher airfares and accommodation prices? If you are searching for an upcoming trip from Sydney to Miami, USA, and have checked airfares every day for the past week, the site will “know” that you really want these fares, and will “guess” that you may be willing to pay a bit more for them. Meaning, the next time you check airfares, the price will go up. “I’d better book the plane tickets before they get expensive.” The result? You’ll end up paying more money.

Avoid this scam by: Clearing your browser’s cookies and recent history, or by changing browsers.


Comparison Sites

Sites like and Skyscanner offer excellent deals for Aussies looking into booking flights, hotels or car rentals. But have you ever wondered, how do they make money? By charging you an extra fee, of course.

Try searching for airplane tickets from Sydney to New York on — you will get different prices from different airlines, like $470.30 for flying with United Airlines, $859.00 for flying with Australian Airlines, and $994.00 for flying with American Airlines. Now go to each airline’s website, and search for the exact same flight. Chances are, the price is significantly higher, so it makes sense to simply book your airplane tickets through

If you select a certain airfare from the list, you’ll see that, in actuality, the price of the ticket is about 2/3 of what you were quoted, and the rest shows up as “taxes/fees.” Some other online travel agencies charge extra fees other than what you are quoted, so you should be very careful when booking flights or hotels.

Avoid this scam by: Checking different OTAs and comparing additional fees.


Non-Refundable Airplane Tickets/Hotel Stay

One of the things most Aussie travellers fear is having their flights cancelled or delayed for any reason. Not only does that mean that you might simply lose the money you’ve paid for the tickets, but you may also lose the money you’ve paid for accommodation. Most airlines and OTAs will charge you an extra fee to make the tickets/hotel stay refundable. This can be tempting — after all, the unforeseeable can happen at any time. But if it doesn’t, you’ll end up having paid more money.

Avoid this scam by: Getting your travel insurance in place to get coverage for delayed/cancelled flights, and other such situations. Kango Cover provides some of the best and most affordable insurance plans for Aussie travellers — check them out here!


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