Budget airlines for Dummies

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Budget airlines for Dummies Reviews

HelenP HelenP
50 reviews
Budget Airlines for Dummies - how to get a bargin flight Sep 01, 2013
I love the `for dummies` books and their concept of giving in a simple way all the info that is needed to become proficient in what is often a complicated subject.

This started me thinking about short haul budget flight airlines and what a novice flyer with these companies would need to know in order to get that bargain flight at the advertised price. Hence the title of this review.

FINDING A FLIGHT

The most important thing to understand when looking for bargain flights is to be FLEXIBLE, both on dates and times and also destinations. Some cheap flight destinations that seem grim first glance are actually perfect for a bargain break. A good example of this is Gdansk. To many it conjures up dreary ship building yards and heavy industry. It is actually has a lovely old town with cobble stoned streets and beautifully painted merchants houses. I highly recommend it as a destination. So do some research on what places have to offer.

Finding flights is the next step. Obviously start by checking out the special offers available on the major cheap airlines` websites. I also recommend www.jumblefly.com which specializes in identifying flights on the budget airlines by your choice of departure and arrival airports. www.skyscanner.net is useful to set price alerts for specific destinations.

Don't expect any bargain flights in the period running up to your intended date for travel, as each flight has only a limited number of reduced tickets and these sell out well in advance.

Also be aware that often that a bargain basement ticket is probably cheap because of the flight times or the airport is difficult to get to. So consider checking out bus/train transport times and costs before you purchase. It is also worth considering using airport overnight accommodation options. For example travel lodge at Luton is only six miles from the airport and National Express coaches to the airport stop at the hotel. Perfect for a bargain overnight stay for early flights from Luton :-)

PURCHASING YOUR TICKET

The cheapest way to buy your ticket is with a debit card. I know that credit cards have the advantage of purchase insurance. But the surcharge for use can be up to £10 (€15) and can add substantially to the final payment total.

CHECKING IN

To save on costs cheap airlines make you check in online and print your boarding pass for the flight. If you just turn up at the airport without doing this expect a hearty admin charge.

The online check in is the airlines great opportunity to get more money out of you by offering you a whole array of ad-ons and offers. Some are easy to ignore but others such as travel insurance require you to actually select from the drop down menu a `no thanks` option.

Sometimes you may encounter problems with the websites not accepting your check in details. Often this is caused by your web browser not being compatible. So before you spend a fortune ringing the companies help desks, try using another browser.

LUGGAGE

Checking in hold luggage on budget airlines can be very expensive, so if you want to travel cheaply travel light and pack essentials only into your hand luggage. Permitted dimension and weights vary so make sure that you know the restriction for the company that you are using. Also, only ONE piece of hand luggage is allowed. Handbags, cameras etc count as an item and need to be stored within your hand luggage.

If you exceed the limits airlines can, and do, make passengers put their luggage in the hold and charge them a premium to do this.

PACKING

Even though hand luggage maximum dimensions are generally reducing, you still have more than ample space if you pack carefully, concentrating on the essentials. Below are some tips.

Ditch books and buy either a tablet or e reader. Take photocopies of relevant pages from guide books. Pack mix and match clothes that are crease resistant and lightweight. Wear any heavier garments. Invest in a pair of luggage scales. Take a tube of travel wash so you can minimize on undies. Don't pack a towel. Most accommodation will have towels and if you do need one buy a cheapie and give it away when you leave. Unless you are really into photography, use your phone to take pictures.

THE FLIGHT ITSELF

There is no need to pay for priority boarding. Arrive at the gate well in advance and head for the entrance at the back of the plane then walk towards the middle and pick a seat. Most people head for the front entrance and fill up the seating from the front backwards.

And finally, once you successfully managed to get yourself on your bargain flight don't ask the stewardess for a celebratory drink because, yes you guessed it.. They are expensive!
Just pack the essentials
Invest in luggage scales
4 / 4 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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Travel2014 says:
not sure I voted yes yesterday but I guess it won't let me do it again otherwise! Meant to. I exhaust myself reading so much on TB - then I forget some are reviews not blogs - sorry if I forgot to thumbs up yesterday! :)
Posted on: Jan 31, 2014
HelenP says:
Cho, I hope that I mentioned all the pitfalls of budget airlines.. I see it as somewhat of a game. You pick your wits against theirs and hopefully you win!
I did actually only spend £57 to get to the Czech republic and back, so it is possible to get a bargin if you know what you are doing.
Posted on: Sep 14, 2013
Cho says:
I have been on several budget airlines. In my experience, the minuses outweigh the pluses. Sure, some of them can be quite cheap, but you have to be careful of hidden costs too. With all the supplementary fees added, the total costs can come up to nearly the same as flying on a regular airline. Your entry mentioned all the pitfalls, thanks for posting.
Posted on: Sep 14, 2013
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