Air travelers looking for the best deal are sometimes tempted to book flights on low-cost airlines. If you’re this type of traveler looking for the ultimate low fare, there are some things you should know before flying with a low-cost air carrier.
Sometimes, the deal you find is legit and lower than most of the rest. At other times, the bargain you think you’re getting probably isn’t the best.
It pays to research low-cost airlines and some of the potential disadvantages of booking with them.
You might find that the bargain air carrier you’re interested in flying with can put you in a bad position, but it can offer one an experience that lets you embrace a cheap and fun flying experience.
Let’s discuss what makes flying a low-cost airline a good idea or a bad one. We’ll first take a look at what a low-cost airline actually is.
What is a Low-Cost Airline?
A low-cost airline is also called a budget or a discount airline. It’s an air carrier that usually charges fares that are much lower than other airlines.
A low-cost airline can get away with these super slashed prices because passengers typically just pay for the flight, to get from point A to point B.
If you fly a low-cost airline, you probably won’t get meals, Wi-Fi, in-flight entertainment, or expedited check-in (if you do, you’ll likely have to pay extra for them).
Low-cost airlines often fly in and out of smaller, secondary airports away from city centers.
This saves the airline and passengers money, but it can cost you more in travel expenses to get to your hotel or destination.
Essentially, every perk imaginable is stripped down on a low-cost air carrier. Even blankets and the option of choosing your seat may cost you more with these guys.
What to Expect with a Low-Cost Airline
You should, of course, expect reduced initial fares on a low-cost airline. But, you may find that some prices seem like a steal when they really aren’t.
With low-cost airlines, you may end up paying more when you add in the cost of essentials like checking bags.
Watch out for low-cost airline fees that can make the total fare more than you expected, and more than other airlines’ inclusive fees.
When you find a budget airline price that looks too good to be true, it may be. Inquire with the airline to see if you’ll have to pay additional fees that can add up.
If you find a price you like on a low-cost airline, keep in mind that you won’t get any frills with your fare.
Seats might be smaller than you’re used too and there may be more people packed into the plane than you’d like.
You’ll certainly want to bring your own food, blankets, and entertainment (check to see if the plane has charging ports for electronic devices).
You may be offered water to drink, but sometimes you’ll have to pay for it.
Why Book a Low-Cost Airline Seat?
Low-cost air carriers make it possible for travelers to get to many places in the world that they wouldn’t have access to otherwise, because the flights are expensive.
People flying overseas often book low-cost airlines and forgo any luxuries, just so they can afford to travel where they want.
Also, families enjoy the benefit of reduced fees on budget airlines because they can take trips that would be to costly on other carriers.
Booking a seat on a low-cost airline sometimes means you can take more flights during a year. And, it can be a great way to stay connected with love ones in other cities, states, or countries.
If you can live without the extras, you may want to choose a low-cost or budget airline for your next flight.
Tips for Booking Travel on Low-Cost Airlines
If you can book your ticket with low-cost air carriers online, you’ll often be able to get the lowest price and avoid add-on fees like those charged when booking by phone.
Sometimes, you can even check in online (many low-cost carriers charge you for checking in at the airport).
You’ll need to watch out for a myriad of hidden fees with low-cost carriers.
Read the fine print to find out if your deal really is a deal. The advertised price may only be for one-way, not round-tip.
Also, tax is probably not included with the quoted fare.
Again, inquire about checked-bag fees, and ask if you will be charged for carry-on bags.
Make sure you understand bag size requirements as well, or you may end up paying a lot more to travel with your luggage.
Before you click “buy now” on the airline reservation website where you found your low fee, see if you need to opt out of any charges they’ve automatically attached to your reservation like travel insurance.
Read up on the check-in times for your flight, because if you don’t adhere to them you might not be allowed on the plane.
Find out about costs associated with changing your ticket time or date.
If you’ve done the appropriate research to see if the low-cost air carrier you found really is offering you the best rate, and the price still comes out lowest, celebrate your bargain and get ready for a cheap and enjoyable trip.