If you are trying to travel on limited resources, low-cost airfare might be a tempting lure for investing in budget airlines. However, economical carriers may not provide the inexpensive price they advertise. Find out what the real cost of flying is on budget airlines.
Some airlines offer lower ticket prices but limit fliers from checking luggage or bringing carry-on baggage into the cabin. Checking a bag on these flights may cost an additional fee, which often comes out to the same amount the purchaser saved on the discounted ticket. The fee for luggage may range based on the number of bags and their weight and size. The team at AirportPreCheck.org advises travelers to consider the baggage allowances before booking a budget airline, as there may not be any savings with additional luggage fees. For instance, Spirit Airlines charges $20 to 100 for carry-on bags stored in the overhead bin.
Most continental flights will have a $15 to $45 fee for each of the first two checked bags, provided they are within the size and weight requirements. The fee for subsequent checked luggage can range from $25 to $200 per piece. Luggage that is heavier or larger than the standard is subject to an additional fee of $50 to $200 per piece. Since bigger bags are typically heavier bags, travelers may have to pay double or triple the cost they expected. If you book your budget flight without luggage and then later change your mind, airlines like Ryan Air may increase the cost from the original $46 fee to $78.
In-Flight Meals & Snacks
When booking your flight, you might not have considered the mid-air accommodations. While you might not be expecting a meal when flying economy or during a short flight, do not anticipate complimentary peanuts and water either. Aside from airlines moving away from anything with peanuts due to allergies, cookies, pretzels and other snacks will cost interested parties $2 to $10. Even soft drinks, tea and water can cost a few dollars on your credit card, as cash is not an acceptable form of payment to most airlines. The team at AirportPreCheck.org suggests purchasing beverages and snacks within the airport terminal (after the security check) prior to boarding economy flights.
Bells & Whistles
In the same regard that your Hilton Embassy Suite looks better than a room at a Motel 8, the interior of budget airlines will be starkly different when compared to that of full-service airplanes. To illustrate, low-cost airplanes may have dated upholstery, smaller seats, less legroom and visual advertisements like those found on public buses and trains. The team at AirportPreCheck.org recommends bringing entertainment like books and magazines onboard, as you will most likely not have a TV screen for complimentary amusement.
Delays, Cancellations & Routes
Who cares about perks as long as you get there, right? Many flights are lower in cost because they use airports that are not central to the destination. By means of example, flights to Los Angeles may be less expensive if travelers fly into Bob Hope Airport in Burbank rather than Los Angeles International. However, the 30-mile difference may mean a higher taxi or transportation cost. The team at AirportPreCheck.org advises travelers to take this into consideration when booking.
Furthermore, budget flights are more prone to delays. Unlike full-service airlines, economy airlines do not have spare airplanes in case mechanical issues occur – or spare pilots and cabin crewmembers in case there are callouts. Budget airlines handle unexpected occurrences when they happen, whereas full-service airlines pay to have a backup plane and employees at the airport. As such, the majority of Spirit Airlines flights are delayed or canceled