A handy guide to help you wade through airline rules and restrictions

While I was packing yesterday for my daughter’s and my trip to Denmark, I asked her if she wanted to take a lightweight shawl to use as a blanket on the airplane.

“Don’t they give you blankets?” she asked.

Maybe. Some airlines charge extra for a blanket and pillow. Jet Blue already does. U.S. Airways is going to start soon.

In another conversation yesterday, this one on the phone, my father told me that he decided against checking a second bag on his Delta flight from Columbus to JFK in New York when he found out that this would cost him $50. On December 5, that fee will go down to $25.

My dad’s plane was an hour late leaving Columbus yesterday, and he said that the JFK connection to Albany was a hassle to navigate. Perhaps, that’s why the extra baggage fees seem unreasonable. Plane travel is anything but heavenly.

Blanket fees, bag fees, reservation fees, carry-on size changes, meals or no meals, drinks or no drinks, working toilet or no working toilet–just kidding on that one–are details that make air travel more confusing than it used to be.

Sure, buy the plane ticket, but don’t think you’re done paying for the cost of getting from here to there. Keep some extra cash on hand because you’re bound to need it for something when you fly.

In this comprehensive article at Smarter Travel, Tim Winship covers 25 policy changes that are coming to various airlines. When trying to find the best deal, knowing an airline’s checked baggage policy, for example, can make a difference as to how pricey a cheap ticket may become.

One point Winship makes is that complaining can work. When United received complaints galore from passengers who were miffed about paying for meals on overseas flights, the airlines dropped that charge.

If there is anything that’s certain, as soon as you learn an airline’s policy, it’s going to change.