Cheap Flights – Do the Low Cost Airlines Provide the Best Deals?

One of the most popular recent developments in the filed of travel has been that of the low cost or budget airlines, where the cost of flying has, on the surface, appeared to plummet to levels that can be enjoyed by even the most financially pressed of travellers. However, cheap air travel has its drawbacks, which, as this article hopes to demonstrate, can sometimes result in more cost, more stress and a lower quality of travel experience.
The first issue to investigate, of course, is the basic cost of the flight. It is undoubtedly true that, for the most part (but certainly not always) the basic cost of a flight with a budget carrier is likely to be lower. However, when we fly, we do not just pay for a seat. Nor do we have the benefit of being flown directly to our ultimate destination. Additionally, we may wish to eat or drink during the flight, as may our children if they are accompanying us. If the children are with us, we may need to take a lot of luggage, which may need to be stored in the hold. At the point of payment, we will almost certainly wish to use a credit card or debit card. It is in relation to these additional travel issues that the budget airlines can disappoint even the savviest of travellers.
Location of the Destination Airport
Many budget operators do not use the popular airports that are most local to your destination. Instead, they use more regional airports which are anxious for their business and who can offer better deals to the airlines. That means that the traveller can find himself many miles from his ultimate destination and, of course, the airline will not be providing a transfer or any payment towards the transfer cost. The additional time and expense associated with transferring from a more distant airport should not be overlooked when considering budget flying.
Refreshments
It is unusual in the extreme that any refreshments will be provided on your low cost flight. If you are travelling with children, this can represent a major additional flight cost, not least as the products available for purchase are unlikely to be inexpensive when compared to the high street.
Luggage
Most low cost airlines ask for payment for any hold luggage, allowing only free cabin luggage (within certain dimension and weight limits). Once again, the cost of taking hold luggage can result in a significant increase in the basic flight price.
Payment Administration Costs
Many budget carriers ask for a premium to be paid if paying online by credit card or even debit card. Once again, this can add up significantly, when combined with all the other additions, to the overall flight cost.
Flight Cancellation/Amendment Charges
It is unlikely, on a low cost flight, that you will be able to make amendments to the booking without incurring some form of administration fee. This fee and the cost of booking an alternative flight, if that becomes necessary, may well cost in excess of the original travel ticket.
Conclusion
Budget air travel is likely to continue to be popular with travellers. For relatively short trips, involving hold luggage only and where the additional costs, such as food and drinks onboard, can be kept to a minimum it can still represent a real saving. The key to getting the benefit of such a product is to be fully aware of what low cost flights entail, what is included in the price and what is not. A qualitative comparison can then be made with the other flight operators to find out whether the deal that the budget airline is offering lives up to your expectations.

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