Warning about reading the fine print when it comes to travel deals

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PHOENIX - As the airline industry struggles with slumping sales, one carrier continues to soar, but as 3 On Your Side explains, some consumers say Allegiant Air's record earnings are costing them money.

Allegiant is a low-cost carrier which flies out of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.

It offers cheap flights to smaller cities that can sometimes cost a fortune to fly into on some of the larger airlines.

But, the key to taking advantage of those deals is knowing how to book.

Fifth-nine dollars is all Carol Osborn expected to pay for her son and his wife to each fly Allegiant Air to the Valley from Oregon for Christmas.

Carol thought she'd found a smoking deal, until she checked her bank account.

"It should come to $236 for those two round trips for $118 each," she said. "Instead it automatically said $376."

Four-hundred and fourth-six dollars after tax and fees, and it would've been a hundred more if she hadn't deselected a slew of extra charges, like a $16 fee for seat selection and a $7.50 charge for priority boarding.

Both options are automatically selected during the booking process, options first-time users may not catch.

Add that to the $14 online booking fee, plus another $10 for booking over the phone.

On top of baggage fees and money for drinks and snacks and you're looking at least another $160 for two round trip tickets.

"It's a good deal but it does add up when you want to use everything," she said. "Buyer beware. This is false advertising, or at least be very careful because you're going to get charged for a lot of small things that you don't need to pay for."

Allegiant Air tells 3 On Your Side Carol was charged more because there was only one seat left at that $59 price and the cost of the second ticket had more than doubled while Carol was booking.

Carol said she didn't know about the price change because Allegiant's website only updates every hour.

But she didn't find that out until after she contacted customer care.

"I got a sorry for your inconvenience, but this is probably what happened, and that's the way we do things," Carol said.

Had Carol known she said she would've checked other airline's prices before committing to Allegiant.

While she still can't wait to see her son and daughter-in-law, she wants other travelers to know when it comes to airlines, cheap deals can be deceiving.

"You absolutely have to know what you're doing when you're booking with Allegiant," she said.

Allegiant Air said Carol should've noticed the price difference before she booked her flights.

In a statement to 3 On Your Side, a spokesperson writes "when making purchases online, we encourage customers to take their time and read the terms and conditions before committing to the final purchase."

By the way, you can avoid some of those fees by booking at the airline counter.