4 Tips for Flying With Budget Airlines

Travelling can be an expensive endeavour, especially with rising costs and additional fees you may overlook. Still, travelling remains favoured by travellers around the world. In the UK especially, a recent Legal & General survey on popular destinations revealed that 45% of Brits plan on taking a family holiday this year, 42% of Brits are looking for a beach holiday, while 17% sought multi-destination trips. Other forms of travel have also become increasingly popular, with activity-based trips (14%) and sustainable travel (13%) being on travellers’ lists.

Some of the most popular holiday destinations for 2024 include Spain (37%), Italy (32%), France (16%) and Portugal (16%). Of course, these beautiful destinations don’t always make the most affordable holidays. In the same survey, researchers found that Brits spent £1,944 on holidays in 2023 and that 46% of Brits have exceeded their holiday budget, with food and drink expenses being the most popular reason why, followed by shopping and day trips.

As such, budget and low-fare airlines have become a popular go-to for travellers and families looking to cut costs without compromising their travel experiences. However, low-cost airlines have their own pros and cons you should be aware of. Below, we’ll be sharing four tips for flying with budget airlines:

Compare fare prices

While low-fare airlines may sound straightforward in their offerings, not all affordable flights are the same. Budget airlines have become increasingly common to meet rising demands for affordable travel, so it’s important to take the time to compare prices and deals to decide on the best travel plan.

You can use online low-fare finders to get detailed overviews of cheap flights available depending on your preferred destination and travel schedule. Some online fare finders will also have built-in flight timetables so you can easily plan out your routes if you’re looking for multi-destination holidays. Most low-fare packages will include hotels and luggage, and some may include airport transfers, so be sure to check for the travel plans that fit your needs most.

Make sure everyone’s onboard

If you’re looking to travel affordably as a family or a big group, be sure to have everyone onboard with the travel plans, schedule, and inclusions. A lot of affordable flight plans are priced that way due to certain compromises, like flight times being late at night or decreased legroom due to smaller planes being used.

In a previous post on kid-friendly destinations, we also shared travel planning tips like making planning a fun and easy process for everyone involved. This includes purchasing add-ons like food or additional luggage space for your child’s toys. Also, consider other aspects of budget airlines, like baggage restrictions or unpredictable changing dates. In this case, it may be time to reconsider the budget path, and whether you should pay for extras or upgrade entirely, so everyone is on board with the travel plans.

Purchase add-ons and extras online

As mentioned above, sometimes, paying for add-ons can’t be avoided. One of the rules many avid travellers follow is to be flexible and open about your travel plans, as additional charges and extras are bound to happen along the way, whether at the airport or after your flight, as well as at your destination.

When you do decide to purchase add-ons and extras to improve your travel experience, it’s always best to purchase these online and while you’re at the booking stage of your flight. This is because it’s usually cheaper to purchase online than at the airport. This includes checking your bags in advance, which can be done and paid for online. It’s also best to check your bags inonline so you don’t have to worry about removing items at the last minute.

Consider how much it’ll cost to get to the airport

Finally, it’s crucial that you don’t overlook how much it’ll cost you to get to the airport. Some low-cost airlines operate at secondary airports that may be more remote than bigger main airports. At the same time, direct transportation to airports and airport transfers can also cost you as much as you’ll be saving from booking at a budget airline.

A new survey of the UK’s worst-value rail trips found airport links dominating the list, with journeys to the airport costing £1 per mile or higher. For example, Hayes & Harlington to Heathrow Central costs the most at £2.10 per mile, while Stansted Airport to Bishop’s Stortford costs £1.11 per mile. Express tickets to airports are also costly, even if they may be more tempting than buses that aren’t nearly quick enough to get yourself to an airport early.

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