I think many of you have thought about an idea of decreasing your travel costs by flying with low-cost airlines instead of regular b.udget unfriendly airways. I don’t know why many people are still very suspicious about flying with low-cost airlines and tend to think that lower price comes at the expense of the safety on board. It’s not true: none of the airlines would ever risk the lives of its staff and customers and use the unforgivably old insecure planes.
Personally, I am flying with low-cost airlines quite often. They are fast, cheap and not bad at all. The main purpose of using them is getting to your final destination. Of course, you wouldn’t get the same service or the level of comfort, but does that really matter when you’re paying $30 for a RETURN ticket?
Of course, I wouldn’t fly over the Atlantic Ocean with Ryanair (but might consider doing it with Norwegian) but the flight between Paris and Seville won’t do any harm to me or anyone else. In case you’re looking for reviews of low-cost airlines, you can find them here, where I described my experience with major European budget airlines.
Forewarned is forearmed. 8 things you should know when flying with budget airlines in Europe:
1. The only thing included in your fare is the flight itself and 8-10 kg of hand luggage.
That means if you want something else (e.g. check in the airport, seat allocation, checked- in baggage) you need to pay. And the prices are often not that low at all. So consider your priorities and decide, what do you really want.
2. If you’re flying with your partner or friends, be ready to be seated separately.
There is a very high probability, that if you booked your flights from separate accounts, you won’t be sitting together. Even if you did, it still doesn’t guarantee you the fact, that you will be sitting next to each other. How to avoid sitting separately? Well, paying for your seats in advance.
Lifehack (which doesn’t always work, though): In case you want to sit with your partner/friend/relative but you bought tickets separately, try to check in online at the same time by literally pressing the button together from different devices. In 2 of 4 cases it worked out, well in the other two it hasn’t.
3. Be ready for delays and cancellations
Many of the low-cost airlines are not the most punctual airlines in the world. Be ready for 20-50 minute delays and be ready to fix and reschedule some of your plans upon arrival. Some airlines will even make you stand in the boarding area for 30-50 minutes, if the plane is late, so you free the space (and seats) in the airport.
4. Be ready that your hand luggage will be weighed and measured
Bringing a huge suitcase on board intentionally will be quite risky. Even though the hand luggage control is a very selective procedure, if your flight is full and the staff – not so friendly, you might need to pay extra to check it in. And this extra can be a lot. What about 60 euros? Ugh, especially if your flight was just 10 euros.
5. If you need checked baggage, purchase it while booking the flight.
You can also do it later online. Never purchase additional baggage in the airport unless you want to pay 3 times more the regular baggage fare. How about paying 20 euros in advance instead of 60 euros in the airport? Sounds good to me too!
6. Never forget to print your ticket!
In case of some airlines, you need to pay quite a lot if the staff at the counter has to print it for you or even more if you haven’t checked in in advance. In case you forgot to check in/print your ticket, just download the airline app from the nearest free wifi spot and avoid paying additional costs. Note, that the app doesn’t support non-european nationalities (I’m Russian, so I always had to print the ticket, while Pepe is a Spanish citizen, so he could use the app and save some trees).
7. The food is quite expensive on board
Don’t expect it to be cheap. It’s smart to bring your own snacks, don’t worry, it’s allowed. The only benefit of the aeroplane food is that it can be ordered hot if you’re craving for fries or a soup.
8. Remember, that the airports operating low-cost airlines in Europe are very often not the main airports.
Don’t expect to arrive at Heathrow with Ryanair – you’ll be stuck in Stansted or Luton instead. And sometimes the connection between the airport and the city that you’re going to is quite challenging. You might need to use Ryanair shuttle and pay something like 20 euros one way (in case of Paris). Check that carefully in advance.
If you remember these 8 things when flying with low-cost airlines, you’ll definitely be fine!
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