From simply picking a seat to traveling with a baby in your lap, budget airlines are pretty sneaky when it comes to tacking on extra hidden fees for just the basics.
Using budget airlines such as Ryanair, EasyJet and Air Asia makes a lot of sense in a world where the cost of travelling keeps rising.
According to eDreams, one of Europe’s leading travel agencies, Brits are still heading out of town this holiday season, but increasingly using budget carriers. Last year, the majority of flights booked were with British Airways, closely followed by other ‘traditional’ carriers such as KLM, Lufthansa and Air France. This year, British Airways and KLM are the only two of last year’s carriers to make it back into the top 5, with Easyjet being a clear first, followed by other low-cost options.
However, if you’re not careful the add-on charges will quickly result in higher costs. Having some knowledge about them will make it much easier for you to truly save when using budget air travel. Some of the issues you need to keep in mind when you are interested in using them and want to save as much as possible include:
The ever-growing ticket price
While the ticket price listed on the website may seem like a steal, by the time to click through to process payment all the necessary flight taxes and services fees have been added, often raising the price considerably.
Picking a seat
With online booking technology, it has become easy for one to book a seat of their choice. However, you need to be careful with this especially if you are interested in saving the most amount of money. AirTran, a budget carrier, charges $6 per seat. This can quickly add up especially when visiting multiple destinations or when travelling in a large group. The cost of picking a seat for a group of ten, for instance, might cost $60. On some trips, this can be the equivalent of an extra ticket.
Taking your kids with you
RyanAir charges £30 for traveling with a child under two in your lap. Yep.
An in-flight blanket
When travelling overnight, you would think that getting a blanket would be a given. This is not the case on some airlines. Air Canada, for instance, will charge CAD 2 for this. Jet Blue also charges for pillows and blankets, and a pair of headphones will cost you $1 on the same carrier.
In the past, most airlines provided some snacks or drinks on a complimentary basis even on short flights. With issues such as the rising cost of air travel, this is likely to change. US Airways in particular is planning to charge $2 for soft drinks on their flights. Hopefully, this won’t catch with most carriers.
How you pay
It often seems that you get charged extra for whatever method of payment you use – online by credit card, in person in cash, there’s commonly an extra fee added to the ticket price. While you may not be able o get around this completely, check out which option charges you the least.
Checking in baggage
In the past, you only had to pay extra for baggage that was over the limit for that particular flight. While this is still the case with most carriers, some of them have started charging even for a simple baggage check in, irrespective of the weight or dimensions of the bag.
While not a direct added fee, also keep in mind that most of these types of airlines don’t serve major airports which may result is higher costs (and hassle) of getting to and from your final destination.