On the surface, low-fare airlines seem to be a very good deal especially for people who travel frequently or have limited budgets. It is important to weigh the pros and cons first to determine if you’re truly getting a good deal.
Some people may pay for low rates then realize that there are more drawbacks, removing the value from the entire trip. Browse through different airline companies and talk to frequent passengers to know the specifics on low-cost flying. Here are some of the common pluses and pitfalls you should know.
The Advantages of Low-fare Airlines
1. Low price. Passengers can certainly enjoy low rates which will effectively boost savings for frequent flyers. Going for low-fare airlines can help people save as much as 50% to 80%, especially when booking early. These airline companies usually serve a few routes only and can provide clients with more competitive prices.
2. One-way tickets. Some passengers only travel one way so even when availing low-cost tickets, they don’t have to spend extra for a return flight. Some airlines will give you a one-way ticket option without charging extra.
3. Off peak benefits. The prices will even be lower if you’re getting red-eye flights or when traveling during non-peak hours or days. If you have a definite schedule prepared, you can book your flights in advance and enjoy a stress-free trip.
4. Frequent promotions. Every now and then, people will find big discounts on airfare for certain routes. These promos will be available for a few days only so individuals have to stay alert. Checking the official website of the airline will present the available tickets for particular destinations. You can set the departure times to and from the specific location and manage your bookings yourself.
5. New planes. Some airlines offer low-cost tickets because they have new planes. Some are under re-fleeting programs and introduce the latest airplanes for passengers to experience. Passengers get to enjoy state-of-the-art features and amenities, as well as a smooth and seamless flight experience.
6. Cheap parking. Low-cost airlines usually fly to smaller airports. This means that parking is going to be significantly cheaper, as the larger airports will charge you more for a parking space.
For every low-fare deal a passenger will supposedly enjoy, there is always a compromise on this.
1. Hidden fees. There are many occasions when travelers realize that they’re only paying for a portion of the total package. There may be hidden fees, taxes, insurance costs and other added expenses that will increase the amount significantly. It’s important to verify the total cost first.
2. No refunds. Generally, discounted airline tickets will not allow refunds. The no refund policy will require you to schedule your flight properly. Rescheduling might lead to big costs that equal regular tickets.
3. Baggage restrictions. Many passengers are also restricted to carry-on luggage only when using low-fare tickets. You will be charged extra for checking in or have to pay huge fees for excess baggage.
4. Long walk to departure gates. Not all departure gates are created equal. When flying on a large airports there are accessible gates close to immigration counter or customs often reserved for premium routes of global airlines and there are far-flung gates dedicated for low-budget airlines who pay less to the airport.
5. Bad schedule. Many low-cost flights will limit your options to non-peak hours or days. Airlines usually offer cheap tickets for very early morning or midnight flights. Some people also realize that they have been tagged as chance passengers and can have their flight delayed or canceled altogether.
6. Snacks. You won’t find many budget airlines willing to feed you during your flight. Whether you’re in the air for one hour or half a day, know that you won’t even be thrown a little pack of pretzels or a cup of weak coffee. On Wow and Spirit, you might not even receive a free cup water – they want you to buy an entire bottle.
But, if you’re willing to pack your own in-flight snacks or suck it up and buy airport food, you’ll have smooth sailing on budget carriers.