Budget air travel is one of the best revolutions that hit the airlines. Pretty much ‘invented’ by Freddie Laker when he introduced Skytrain to make air travel more affordable, the mantle was then taken up by the likes of Easyjet and Ryanair. Today many of the major airlines offer budget air travel; some in the form of special offers on scheduled services, others trhough specially formed arms of the main business. Budget air travel has become synonymous with no-frills flying but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still get some bang for your buck. Here’s 8 Tips to Get the Most from Budget Air Travel:
1. Be Flexible
The more flexible you are, the better your satisfaction rating and the more you will get from flying low cost airlines. If you able to travel at the drop of a hat, you can find some truly amazing deals. Equally, you need to be quick off the mark. Incredibly priced tickets such as London to Nice for £1 (less than $2) aren’t going to be available for very long.
2. Be Patient
When tickets for silly prices go on sale, be prepared for a good deal of frustration and don’t always bank on getting a ticket because the world and his wife is looking for low cost flights. It’s the same as for hot concert tickets. Websites crash due to traffic and when you finally get online, the tickets are gone. Be prepared for disappointment but resolve to try the next hot deal.
3. Use a Flight Aggregator then Move on
These are websites that claim to find the lowest fares – Lastminute.com, Travelzoo.com, Kayak.com, Skyscanner.com, Orbitz.com, etc... They might well have found you the cheapest flight but check for booking fees. Sometimes, it’s worth finding the tickets on the flight aggregator site then moving quickly to the airline’s direct site to book it directly, thereby avoiding the booking fee.
4. Watch the Incidentals
Budget air travel is no-frills flying so, if you are going to start in adding extras, undoubtedly, the price is going to increase. Adding in food, requesting a seat with extra leg room or checking in luggage is all going to add to the cost. If you don’t just want a seat on the plane maybe you should bite the bullet and pay the extra bucks for a regular flight.
5. Know What You’re Getting
Another key to getting satisfaction from budget air travel is to not have expectations of something that was never promised in the first place. Read the fine print. For example, you might find you have to print your own boarding pass to avoid turning up at check in without it, where a copy costs $25.00.
6. Watch the Clock
Budget air travel is made possible by airlines cutting costs wherever they can. This means tight scheduling and less staff. For the customer this translates into luggage restrictions, minimal customer service and strict check in times. Be on plenty of time for check in – some low cost airlines are so strict that if you arrive even one minute are check in close, you’ve lost your seat on the flight.
7. Travel Insurance
You are more likely to be at the vagaries of fate with budget air travel than with scheduled main carriers. This makes travel insurance important. Ensure you have a policy that covers cancellations and delays.
The final piece of advice for getting the most from budget air travel is to check the flight you’ve purchased is actually where you want to go. Some low cost flights don’t take you to major city airports but satellite airports and you could find yourself two hours or more from where you want to be. The cost of the journey to your intended destination when added to the price of the low cost ticket, means you’ve saved nothing and in fact had greater inconvenience.
Budget air travel is brilliant as long as you know the limitations and have no expectations of a high standard of service and delivery. For getting from A to B in the cheapest fashion, when all you want is a seat, low cost airlines fulfil the need.
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