If you’re planning on travelling for the holidays, or you have a vacation coming up and you’re thinking about a nice long getaway, you may be interested in flying on a budget airline like Ryanair or Easyjet.
You can usually get very cheap flights from these budget airlines. But if you’ve never flown on a budget carrier before, you may be curious about how they differ from full-service carriers like Emirates. Here’s what you need to know!
Carry-Ons And Checked Bags Will Cost You Extra
On a budget airline, you can only bring a “personal item” without added cost. A personal item usually must be about the size of an average backpack, and must fit underneath the seat in front of you. A handbag, purse or camera bag can also usually be brought along if it’s small.
If you do have to buy a carry-on or a checked bag, do it online before you arrive at the airport. Typically, the cost of purchasing a bag online is only half the cost of buying it at the gate.
For example, budget US airline Frontier charges $35 for a carry-on bag if you buy it online – but if you gate-check, the cost doubles to $70.
Try your best to pack light. But if you do need a checked bag or carry-on, plan in advance and buy it online to save money.
Be Prepared To Go Without Creature Comforts
The seats, trays, and other amenities in budget planes are not exactly luxurious – as can be expected for a cut-rate airline. Your seat will likely be thin and not super comfortable – and most seats usually have just a tiny tray, and no pockets.
You can also forget about amenities like USB charging ports, TV screens, and other in-flight luxuries. It’s quite rare to get these additional amenities on a budget short-haul flight.
Don’t Expect To Pick Out Your Seat (For Free)
If you love being in the aisle seat, or prefer staring out the window during your flight, be prepared to pay for the privilege. Most budget airlines will assign you a “default” seat when you buy your ticket – and if you want to move your seat, you’ll likely have to pay a small fee. Usually, this is around $5-$20, depending on how desirable the seat you’re choosing is.
TANSTAAFL (There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch!)
You may have heard this expression before – but it’s especially true of budget airlines! You won’t get a free drink, snack, or anything else on a budget airline – you’ll have to pay. Usually, you won’t even be supplied with water.
To get around this, simply purchase a sealed pack of snacks and a drink at the airport, or bring your own water bottle and fill it up at the drinking fountain (just make sure it’s empty when you go through security). You’ll be able to snack in the air – without paying for overpriced food and drink!
Don’t Expect Flexible Cancellations Or Refunds
Budget airlines usually have very inflexible and rigid cancellation/refund policies. Unless something went wrong on your flight, and it was the fault of the carrier, you can expect a fairly difficult customer service process – and you’re unlikely to get your money back if you have to cancel or move your flight.
Fly Smart – Understand The Drawbacks Of Budget Carriers!
Budget carriers are certainly the best way to get cheap flights for travel. But there are some drawbacks you need to be aware of – and now that you’re informed, you’ll be able to make the right decision next time you fly.