Budget airlines or low-fare airlines are becoming widely popular among air travelers as an alternative to major airlines (though a lot of these budget airlines are owned by the latter) though they are by no means perfect. Here are some advantages and disadvantages you need to know before you consider booking a flight on such airlines.
In stating the obvious, budget airlines offer lower prices. This means travelers get to save more, most especially if they book at the earliest possible time. This is why the later you book, the higher the price increases, especially when it is near the date of your flight. This is because these airline companies serve a few routes which allow them to provide such prices to clients. Furthermore, it is much cheaper in non-peak hours or days.
In relation to the low prices, these airlines offer a lot of promotions to get you to book flights with them. They would usually set dates when to take advantage of these promotions so it is best to always look up their websites and book your flights on those given dates. The only issue you will face is the dates or destinations may be limited and in terms of destinations, it may not be where you want to go.
Although the prices are cheap as advertised, you will be in for a surprise when you discover “hidden” or additional charges. This usually covers taxes and insurance costs that will reveal itself upon booking. The advertised prices are essentially the “base” price. But once the added costs are added, you end up paying more once you get your ticket.
Another issue with budget airlines is the available schedules of the flights. They are usually available in non-peak hours, usually early in the morning or at midnight. This can be a hassle to late risers lest they camp out in the airport.
One drawback of discounted or cheap prices is you cannot get refunds if your flight does not push through. Rescheduling your flight may cost even more.
One other disadvantage of budget flights is the limit on your luggage. Budget airlines is good for light travelers since they use carry-on luggage (the ideal). You may bring additional luggage but you have to pay additional charges, especially if it exceeds the set weight limit.
Another thing worth noting is that budget airlines’ aircraft lack the creature comforts of normal aircraft. They are built as airborne commuter buses. As you may expect, the seating may be rather cramped and you might barely have any elbow room if the flight is full.
Meals are not automatically served to all passengers. You have to pre-order meals when you book your flight which will cost a little extra. If you do not, you may not get served on a flight; you will have to order on the spot (at least they will accept whatever currency you have on hand).
All in all, budget airlines are not so bad. They are best suited for short trips rather than long-haul flights so it is worth the discomfort you might experience. But still, they boast of newer aircraft and very competent pilots and crew who still give you the best service they can give in a budget.