5 Helpful Things To Remember When Flying with a Budget Airline
Recently, CNN’s Richard Quest has traveled around the globe using just budget airlines. His feedback are astonishing and hit right on. Just a recap and emphasize a few things about his journey, here’s important things to remember for you to enjoy your flight with a budget carrier:
1. Level Your Expectation
You are flying with a budget carrier. No matter what you do or say, they will stick to their business model and will not raise standards without raising the prices. There are no business class seats (but some will or have already added a business class section soon), no special treatment, and no fancy thingies on your seat or the one next to you. If you level your expectation and stop comparing them with regular commercial airlines, you’ll know that they are well worth every penny you paid for.
2. “Low Cost means lower cost for the airline, not the customer”
As Richard Quest mentioned in the article, low cost meant low operation costs. If you have already noticed, during peak season or on a regular day, budget carriers offer prices just slightly lower than regular, full service airlines, sometimes half the price, and occasionally, rock bottom rates during seat sales. But they use the same kind of aircraft, employ almost the same number of staff and pilots. Despite the low cost, you get charged for meals, wi-fi, luggage(s) and other ancillary items. Most likely they don’t have lounges in airports either.
3. It’s like a bus… that flies
Flying with budget carriers has already been like taking a bus, only that it flies and gets you there faster. Some budget carriers fly almost at every hour of the day to key destinations. You buy food (like peanuts) to a lady with a snack cart like the dude that sells peanuts and mineral water that goes up to almost every Filipino bus traversing EDSA. A bus even have more leg room than some budget carriers’ aircraft setup. Some conveniences are limited to a certain degree to cut down cost for both company and customer, so if you are flying long haul, better decide which aspect you want to prioritize: convenience or saving money.
4. They follow the same safety standards as other airlines
Contrary to some belief, budget carriers also follow the same safety standards. With the recent events with FlyDubai, it was just sheer coincidence that that kind of tragedy occurred. Even regular commercial airlines experience safety issues and their share of tragedy (ie. Malaysian Airlines). Last December 2015, an Air Asia aircraft experience hydraulic problems when it was about to land in Cebu (Mactan) airport. Fortunately they were able to land safely. So it doesn’t really mean the you are paying less for compromise, they still ensure that you get to your destination safe and sound.
5. Yes, You Can Travel Around The World Using Budget Airlines
“It requires a bit of planning. It’s not as straightforward as just booking it and leaving it at that, but it’s doable. It’s all eminently doable.” – Richard Quest
If you are internet savvy and know which cities different budget airlines fly to, you can plan a trip to Europe, US or around the world! Let’s take for example flying from Manila to Rome:
- Manila to Dubai via Cebu Pacific (approx. P16,200 round trip)
- Dubai to Istanbul via FlyDubai (approx. P18,000 round trip)
- Istanbul to Rome via Alitalia (approx. P10,800 round trip)
TOTAL: P 45,000 round trip including taxes! (Compared to Emirates airline which will cost you P75,400)
The catch? Endure 3-4 connections/transfers (compared to only 1 in Emirates), run in between transfer airport terminals in Dubai (from Terminal 3 to Terminal 2 for FlyDubai), account for the transit time during lay over, and expect check-in and check-out of luggage during lay over (no check through).
P30,000++ is huge savings (around US$ 600++) and the journey is one helluva an experience, so if you are young, adventurous and on a budget, wanting to travel to Europe, flying with low cost carriers is possible.
Tell us your low-cost travel experience at comment section below.