While Budget airlines have allowed many of us to travel more frequently and affordably, there are several hidden conditions that often go overlooked by travellers. While we enjoy the Low prices, frequent promotions, one-way tickets and newer planes, the inconveniences of budget airlines often come with undisclosed costs to our comfort and safety. Budget airlines love to charge for everything under the sun, from seat selections to early check-in. They also will raise the prices of these items as it gets closer to your flight. If you happen to need or want any of these extras, make sure to do it at the time of ticket purchase or well in advance. If you’re travelling with Kids or family members here are a couple of things that Travel agents at Maan Travel would ask you to keep in mind while flying a budget airline.
As stated, the “free food” you receive on full-service airlines is actually paid for in your higher-priced ticket. As such, budget airlines don’t charge you for this to reduce costs. This means if you want food or drink (often even coffee or water), you’ll have to pay for it. “A lot of times, customers fail to carry the right currency or may end up spending more for using their credit card on board” says Maan Travel Agent Nitin Kanwar. Vegetarian options and variety may be limited, with flights often running out of a particular meal due to the limited availability of it. Hence its often advisable to pre-book a meal or eat the airport prior to your flight.
Perhaps the biggest disclaimer in budget airline travel is the lack of a baggage allowance. Apart from a hand carry of 7kgs on board, customers often have to pay extra for additional bags. “For short trips and customers travelling alone, often time’s baggage is never an issue, however we often see an issue when families exceed the weight limit and are forced to pay a hefty weight allowance for every additional kg”. Often times, airlines do not consider baggage for an infant and hence checking your baggage weight before flying or paying ahead for additional baggage online is always recommended.
As the aircrafts for budget airlines tend to be smaller and lacking entertainment systems, the provision of a basinet may not always be around. Flights below 5 hours of travel time may not provide or charge for the use of a basinet. This can cause a significant discomfort when travelling with infants especially in times of turbulence. With the flights being smaller aircrafts, there is less leg room space and can be quite uncomfortable when flying with a child on long journeys.
Apart from printing your own boarding pass at home without incurring a cost at the airport, checking in online is a must. For airlines like Ryan Air, checking in 4 hours before your flight is a must to avoid paying 40 euros at the airport. “Booking a seat on a budget airline will cost you as there are no assigned seats on the flight” says Mann Travel Agent Nitin Karwar.
With the frequency and number of trips that budget airlines make, there is often room for delays or cancellations. In cases of this, the airline may not provide assistance or a refund. Hence booking a budget airline for an important occasion can be often cost you time or a possibility of a delay. This is especially important when booking connecting flights to your final destination. Ensuring you take into account a possibility of delays, leaving time between flights to handle the transit is crucial. For Air Asia, often times it requires a second check in, security clearance and even a transit visa. Reading the terms and conditions of the departure is crucial when booking your flight.
So what are the golden rules when flying with a budget airline?
Having said all this, there’s no question that flying low-cost can be a great mode of transportation for those looking to travel for leisure or business and wanting to do so on a budget. Just look out for what you are and aren’t paying for!