Flying low cost may sound terrific when considering the price, but refusing the usual amenities may turn out to be a disaster if you are not prepared.
Flying Low Cost: Things to Consider
Low cost airlines are becoming increasingly popular, especially in the aftermath of the recent financial crisis. However, many travelers are so fascinated with the low cost that they do not understand what usual perks they forgo for the sake of it.
If you are a student, low-cost airlines are probably the best option for you.
Check the Perks
Many low-cost airlines offer greater flexibility in terms of perks you can get. So, for instance, you may choose not to have checked baggage or seat reservation, and this way your ticket is going to be cheaper. Usually the lowest price includes no perks.
Many US travelers are so used to being able to check in a bag with their ticket that they do not even realize it may not be an option. They just buy the cheapest ticket there is, not knowing that checked baggage is not included.
Thus, when they get to the airport they have to pay an extra high price to check in their bag. Therefore, it is important to know exactly what you are getting with your ticket type. This way you don’t have to make last-minute adjustments or even pay extra at the counter.
Check the Airport
This is a common mistake many first time low-cost travelers make. They see the price and rush to buy the ticket, without taking pains to check the airport where they are going to land. However, many low-cost carriers choose distant, but cheaper airports, which can be quite uncomfortable for you.
This way the cost of taxi from that airport may outweigh the benefits of an inexpensive ticket. Thus, you may end up paying more in total than if you were to simply buy a ticket from a traditional airline which lands in the airport near your vacation spot.
Read the Policies
Usually cheap airlines offer a range of ticket types for budget as well as business travelers. As you might rightfully assume, the policies for business travelers tend to be more flexible than for other flyers. However, even business class tickets can be non-changeable and non-refundable.
It is common sense to know what you are getting yourself into before you press to pay. An airline is not your friend. It is a business whose primary purpose is to make money. The easiest way to pull it off is to impose extortionate fees on naïve travelers who don’t know their rights.
Sometimes you may not have the financial means to buy a more expensive ticket to have more flexibility. However, at least if your plans fall through, and you don’t fly, you won’t be too shocked if you cannot use the money you paid as a credit.
Call the Airline
This is definitely not a pleasant experience, but the earlier you report your mistake or change in plans, the higher the probability of a favorable outcome. The longer you wait, the less likely you are to amend the situation.
Whether you booked the wrong ticket or need to reschedule your flight, just call. Very often even low-cost airlines can return the ticket price in case of cancellation within a certain period of time (ranging from 2 to 24 hours).
Very often this option is not visible or easily identifiable online. Thus, do not wait until it is too late. Even if you do not plan to show up for the flight, let the airline know. Very often they will find you for not warning them in advance. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Do Not Assume
You might think that on long haul flights even the stingiest airline will offer water… well, think again. Sometimes airlines go to the extremes like making their passengers pay for lavatory visitors in order to make the most out of their travelers.
Even if you think your questions are ridiculous, it is better to answer them in advance, rather than endure a 10 hour flight without a sip of water. It is also a good idea to check with at least two sources as the info may not be updated on one of them.