We’ve all seen the unbelievable budget flight deals—London to Rome for €10, Paris to Prague for a hi-five, Boston to Iceland for $99 (that last one is totally real). Fantasizing about jetting off to a new city every weekend for pennies is easy, but don’t be seduced by the bargain prices.
Flying on a budget airline sucks.
Discount airlines like RyanAir and EasyJet, can seem like a steal, but more often than not you’re the one who gets fleeced. Hidden booking fees, inane service charges, exorbitant checked baggage (and even carry on baggage fees), are just some of the more obvious ways budget airlines nickel and dime you into paying a lot for your “cheap” flight.
But, you can beat the system and see the world for just a few bucks. You just have to be savvy as hell. Below is a comprehensive guide to the most common traps and fees of bargain airlines, along with a few ways to enhance even the crappiest flight. Enjoy, bargain hunters.
Always Read the Fine Print: Avoid Unnecessary Fees
Read the fine print on your booking, on your boarding pass, and on the company website; I can’t stress this enough. Budget airlines are designed to screw you out of money by taking advantage of your assumptions. The norms of other airlines don’t apply when you fly on a budget airline.
Some commonly held assumptions are:
- Online check-in is free and available whenever you want (nope)
- Carry on bags are free (nuh-uh)
- Carry on bag size and weight limits are the same as other airlines (hahaha)
- Checked baggage fees are reasonable (I’m actually crying a little right now)
- You have a designated seat (pssht)
- They have free food (no one has free food, what is this 1987?)
- At least they have free drinks, right? (not for you, plebeian)
- Not even coffee and water? (seriously, not even coffee and water)
Budget airlines are practically a different mode of travel—like pogo sticks. If you don’t respect them, you’re gonna get hurt. Click to continue…