The Pros and Cons of Flying Budget Airlines
If you want to travel, but are turned off by the rising costs of airfare, you may consider flying with a budget airline. These airlines come in many different formats, but most operate by a “what you see is what you get,” standard. That is usually a cheap flight with little perks. If your one and only goal is to save money, flying budget may seem like a good choice, but is it really?
The Pros of Flying Budget Airlines
You usually get good rates. As previously stated, most budget airlines have cheap flights, but offer very few perks to travelers. This is an easy way to save money. If your goal is to cheaply get from point a to point b, you should have no problem flying on a budget airline. As for how much money you save, it depends on the airline in question, your travel dates, and your destination. On average, most travelers save at least $100 a trip by flying budget instead of well-known.
You have a number of airlines to choose from. For the most part, budget airlines were a well-kept secret in the United States. Most air travelers were familiar with the big carriers, such as American Airlines and Delta. It wasn’t until airfare skyrocketed that passengers started examining their options more. Most were pleased to see that not only did budget airlines exist, but there were quite a few to choose from. In the United States, just a few of your options include Southwest, Spirit, Virgin American, JetBlue, and Horizon Air. With a number of budget airlines to choose from, you have a good chance of saving money.
The Cons of Flying Budget Airlines
There are little to no perks. When most of us think of perks, we think of in-flight movies, drinks, and snacks. On occasion, some budget airlines forego these extras, but there is more. Some budget airlines allow you to make your reservations, but you don’t choose your seat until you arrive at the airport or board the airplane. For most travelers this is okay, but it may be risky if you are traveling as a family. Since budget airlines focus on cheap travel, many completely forego first class. If you want to have your perks, it may be best to avoid flying budget airlines.
You don’t always get the best deals. For example, JetBlue was mentioned above as a good airline. If you search for a flight between Syracuse, New York and Orlando, Florida, a big $114 pops up on your screen (at the time of this article). You think great, as Northwest Airlines quoted you $156 for that same flight. That is until you see the $114 isn’t for a roundtrip flight, even though you selected roundtrip from the options. You must scroll down the page and select your return flight, which also has a price tag of $114. This “budget,” airline is now $72 more expensive.
Some budget airlines load you down with fees. Southwest Airlines is well-known for being a good budget airline. Their website and commercials say “what you see is what you get.” This means the price you see is actually the price you pay. Not all airlines are like this. Many have hidden fees and taxes, which you may not see until you are ready to pay for the flight. Always read the fine print of a budget airline. After doing so, you may see that their deals aren’t so good after all.
You have a limited number of airports to choose from. As previously stated, there are many budget airlines in the United States. Unfortunately, they service a limited number of airports. The reason why budget airlines are able to offer discounted flights is because they wisely choose their destinations. They know where travelers want to go and when. Unfortunately, if you want to travel to Kansas, it will be hard to find a budget airline that services state airports. On the other hand, if you want to travel to Florida, your options are virtually unlimited.
As you can see, flying budget airlines does have its pros and cons. If you opt to give these airlines a try, price compare to ensure you really are getting the best deal, make your travel plans in advance, and arrive at the airport early.