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Often with budget airlines, you are left believing you have found a bargain yet you’re completely oblivious to all those additional fees and extras that more premium airlines would offer as standard.
To keep the prices low these airlines ensure there are no fringe benefits, so sometimes they will allow only limited baggage, provide no complementary food or beverages during the flight or even sometimes charge for early check in. Before you know it, you have spent the same if not more than you would have if you had just gone with a slightly more expensive airline in the first place.
To stop you falling into the trap here are some tricks and tips,so you can beat budget airline fees in the future and make sure you get thebest value for money when you make travel plans:
Check before you buy: If you are paying £30 for a flight then chances are that theflight is all you’re paying for, and none of the benefits we’ve listed above. Ifyou’re happy to fly without the added extras, chances are you can play thesystem and get a return ticket for under £40. Just make sure to check that it includesairport fees and air passenger duty. Most of the time they do, but better to besafe than sorry.
Pack light: If you are going away for a long weekend and you can get awaywith just hand luggage, then do! Stow away luggage that is put in the hold cancost easily around £150 return each, can make your flight go from bargain toblowing your budget, but you can save money by booking hold luggage inadvance. Book online and well in advance (so thinking ahead is key!)
To save all-round on luggage, pack hand-luggage only! Airlines allow for somesort of hand luggage, just make sure you check the size and weight restrictionsas they all vary.
You can actually fit quite a lot in your hand luggage, it’s justabout packing smart. Here are a few things to bear in mind:
Use comparison sites: Flight comparison sites come in so handy, especially when youwant to really refine your search. Make sure you filter through results andinclude all the extras you want for the flight whether that is having holdluggage or being able to check in early. This way you can pay for everything upfront, with no nasty surprises down the line.
Avoid check in fees: Normally you can check in online for free, but if you do forgetin the whirlwind of holiday packing and organising then some budget airlineswill charge you at the airport, which can be around £110 per person, perreturn.
What’s more, if you have remembered to check in but you forgetyour boarding pass, some airlines may charge you for another one. The bestthing to do is to see if the airline has an app. Ryanair and EasyJet both do,and this means you can download your boarding pass ahead of time and have it onyour mobile. Do be aware that this is only permitted at certain airports, so dotry and have a printed copy in your hand luggage.
Travelling with a baby? Do your research: Budgetairlines can expect a flat fee of around £80 per return to take a child underthe age of two, even if they are just sitting on your lap. Long haul carriersmay even charge a percentage of the adults’ fare before taxes, which can beeven pricier.
So, make sure you do your research before you book. Compare withother airlines and find one where you are not paying the extra, even if thatdoes mean paying a little more than you initially thought.
Budget is not always better: If you are off on a long-haulflight, you should also consider if a budget airline is better. The key iscomfort otherwise you could have a miserable flight. Sometimes spending alittle extra ensures you have a much more enjoyable journey. Not only this butby paying more upfront, you get more benefits and there are no hidden chargeswaiting for you at the airport. Often more premium airlines allow you a checkin luggage allowance of around 15-20 kg, or they will provide you with a meal, andoften you can select your seats prior to the flight to make sure you can sitwith your family or friends and bag a window seat. These little extras make abig difference to a flight and you want your holiday to start on the rightfoot!
This being said there are times when budget airlines come inhandy. For example, if you are after a cheap weekend away just the two of you,if you do not need loads of luggage and it is just a short journey, then whynot go for a budget option. Just make sure you research before to ensure youget the most for your money!
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