If you are looking to reduce the cost of airfare, you may stop and consider budget airlines. These airlines claim they have the best rates in the business. What do you sacrifice for these rates? It depends on their airline in question. You may give up an in-flight snack, drink, movie, first class, or assigned seating. If this does not concern you, you may be ready to book your travel plans. But wait! Do these budget airlines really save you money? Yes and no; it depends on a number of factors.
The budget airline in question. After a quick search online and after requesting free price quotes, you will see that not all “budget,” airlines are so budget after all. In fact, some charge fares that are inline or more than popular and well-known companies, such as Delta and American Airlines. As great as budget airlines are, never assume you are getting the best deal. Most times you are, but there are no guarantees. Determine which airlines can get you to point a and point b and then back. Visit the online websites for these airlines and request a free quote. If a budget air carrier is truly cheaper to fly with, make your reservations.
If your travel dates are set in stone. Unfortunately, life happens. It is hectic and plans change all the time. If you book a flight with a budget airline, you want to make sure this does not happen. It is best to schedule your reservations after you are sure of your travel date. Why? You are charged a fee for changing your plans. Some budget airlines, like Southwest, charge you a fee and then hold on to your money. This money can be transferred to a new ticket within twelve months. If you don’t use it, you lose it. For many first time travelers, this seems risky and shady. Yes, it is a pitfall to flying on a budget airline, but not if you are 100% sure about your travel dates and time.
The price you see upfront may not be the actual price. Most well-known airline companies, such as Northwest and Delta, let you know your fees and taxes upfront. For example, you search for a flight. Each of your options appear on the screen. The large price is your flight price. The smaller printed price is the total of your flight after taxes and fees are included. You know this information right up front. You rarely do with budget airlines. It usually takes you two or three pages, after seeing your flight options, before you see the total for fee and taxes. So, don’t get excited right away if you can fly between Las Vegas and New York for $89 each way, as this is not the final ticket cost.
If you are traveling to a popular vacation destination. Budget airlines keep their fees low, hence the name. There are many ways they do this, including eliminating many perks for passengers. They also carefully choose the airports they service. Ohio is a great state, but it isn’t one of the most popular vacation destinations in the United States. So, if you need to fly to Ohio, you may be unable to find a budget airline that can get you there. Your chances of flying budget and getting the lowest fares increase with the more popular destinations you choose. Luckily, most budget airlines are known for their no or one-stop flights to popular vacation destinations, like Las Vegas, Florida, and New York.
In short, budget airlines are doing a good thing. They are working hard to provide customers with cheap ways to fly. If you are more concerned about saving money and getting from point a to point b, you should consider flying budget. If you want the perks that come with being an air traveler, it is best to go with the airlines you know and trust.