Budget airlines have without doubt opened up the skies and limits of travel to a whole new level. Previously, air travel was simply too expensive for many people to afford. Now however, it’s relatively easy to find a flight for not much more than you’d pay for a pair of jeans! The benefit of this is that nearly everyone can enjoy air travel and see much more of the world without having to break the bank.
Unfortunately the budget airlines have to make their money from somewhere, and this revenue stream often falls into added extras such as baggage and check in fees. If you’re not careful, these ‘optional’ extras can add up to be more than the price of a standard airfare. With a little bit of savvy knowledge though, the bargains can still be had and there is definitely money to be saved. We’re going to talk you through some basic tips to help you avoid any costly errors with the budget airlines.
The first step to saving money is being careful at the booking stage. Rule number one is to try and be flexible with your travel dates and times. Budget airlines can be very susceptible to price rises at peak times, with the cheapest flights often being early in the morning or late in the evening. If you can be flexible and look for the best price over the range of a few days, you’re much more likely to grab a bargain.
This is also the point at which you have to be careful not to fall short of buying extras you don’t need. Some sneaky airlines will select the extras by default, giving you a subtle chance to opt out; rather than the other way round that many people are more familiar with. If you’re booking in a rush, you might find you’ve ended up with extra insurance, baggage and boarding fees that you never needed. Our top tip is to go through the booking process and find out the true cost at the end; then you can make the decision as to whether you’ve found a bargain or not!
One of the ways in which budget airlines save costs, is to try and reduce the amount of check in staff needed at each airport. As a result, they will often incentivise you to check in online for free, compared with a fee to check in at the airport. Checking in online saves you both time and money, so it’s definitely worth doing. As airlines reduce the amount of check in staff, the queues increase. If you are only carrying hand baggage, then there is absolutely no point in checking in at the airport.
Probably the best way for you to avoid extra costs and hassle is to try and take hand baggage only. Many budget airlines now charge for checked in baggage, and the costs usually add up to more than the ticket price! If you’re only going on a short trip, then try your best to fit it all into one small case that can be taken as hand baggage. Our top tip is to check the dimensions on the internet, and then go out and purchase a bag that fits exactly with the maximum dimensions. If you really can’t fit it in, but you’re travelling with someone else, then why not share the cost of one checked in bag?
Other Expensive Mistakes
Budget Airline’s are definitely not forgiving when it comes to missing your flight or checking in late. In most cases, if you miss the check in deadline then you’ll have to re purchase your ticket. Unfortunately buying a ‘budget’ ticket on the day of travel can be hugely expensive, so probably best you turn up on time!
About the Author: Dianne Smith works for a UK entertainment company called Eight Ray Music. In her spare time she loves to travel and blog about her experiences (good and bad!).