The Need To Know – Discount Airlines

Note: I apologize for the delay in this series for the first-time or novice traveler. I will try to post more often.

Back in the sixties, flying was an elegant luxury. Airlines such as Pan-Am ruled the skies with top notch service and comfort, whisking its passengers to far-off exotic locations. As time wore on changes came about. More competition, price wars, de-regulation to increased fuel costs, consumer demand for lower prices and crazy service fees. The airline industry has not only expanded to a billion dollar industry it is constant. Rarely, if at all, planes are not flying somewhere in the atmosphere. 

This vast global industry gives passengers a few types  of air carriers, depending on the region. There is the “regular” airline where prices points and seating range from coach to business to first class, each having its own perks. Most of these are the big airlines. Many of them may also have smaller regional airlines under their umbrellas.  Another form is the charter flights which are primarily used by tour operators selling package holidays. Then there is the discount airline. 

Discount airlines can offer some amazing deals. Incredible low fares that almost seem to good to be true. Though, they are true! That is the great thing about these discount carriers. They offer cut throat rates and can help you save money. The thing is, that you need to be aware of the extra fees and charges that are the ever present sidekick of these low price “heroes”.  Read the fine print and learn what their extra charges are since they will be plenty. It is the abundance of these extra fees that allow them to have lower fares. The other way they can offer inexpensive fares is by flying into smaller airports, often far from the city centre. For example, Allegiant Air has numerous flights from Bellingham, WA (USA) instead of Seattle, WA. Another is Ryan Air’s service from London-Stansted (UK), about 1.15 hours from London. It just costs less to land a planes at these airports. These savings are then passed onto the passengers. You just need to allot time and money to get to these airports.

So, when you see that amazing deal offered by a discount carrier, remember to look into their extra fees. These may include but are not limited to: 

  • checked baggage within their weight and size restrictions*
  • excess baggage fees*
  • overweight/over-sized baggage fees*
  • cost of paying for checked baggage at time of booking vs at airport check-in
  • paying with a debit card vs paying with a credit card
  • exceeding the number of carry-on and personal items in cabin
  • booking online vs booking over the phone
  • advance seat selection*
  • overhead compartment use
  • purchasing of food/snacks and drinks on-board*
  • purchasing of headphones/blankets/pillows*
*Common with ‘regular’ airlines as well
Discount airlines can offer you some fabulous prices that can not be beat. Just do your homework to find out how to get to these smaller airports, if that is the case and know what you will be paying in total. That will leave you with less surprises. And one more thing, do your homework with the non-discount carriers as well. Sometimes they have a few charges you were not expecting either.
Happy traveling!!
Disclaimer: The information provided on “Wanders the World” (formerly “Eeva’s Wanderings”)  is meant only as tips and suggestions. I, the author, am not responsible for any harm, injury, loss of life or property or any other misfortune that may occur should anyone act on, re-use or their interpretation of the information provided. I will try to provide up-to-date (at time of posting) information but am not responsible should it be out-of-date or incorrect. All opinions are my own and in no way are meant to mislead, defame, harm, humiliate or injure anyone.

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