Low Cost Airline Guide

Low cost airlines

Ryanair was the first airline in Europe to introduce low cost airfares and, soon after, many others followed.  Along with Ryanair, easyJet and Wizz Air all serve dozens of destinations throughout Europe.

There are also many more localized airlines that service different destinations like Air Berlin, Aer Lingus, airBaltic, Eurowings, Flybe, Monarch Airlines, Condor and Norwegian Air.

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No frills

When you buy your ticket you're buying a seat on the plane and that's pretty much it.  There's no entertainment on board and if there are food and drinks available, you have to order them a la carte off a high priced menu.

You'll also be bombarded with upselling from the time you go to book online to when you're sitting on the plane.  You'll be offered everything from priority seating to scratch off lottery tickets.  Just take it in stride, sit back, and enjoy the show as your flight attendants turn into buskers.

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You need to be flexible

In order to keep costs down, cheap flights will often depart at off-peak times.  If you want to fly cheap, you're almost always going to depart either late at night or early in the morning.  It's not unusual to see discount airlines offer flights at 11:30 at night or 4:00 in the morning.

Also, alot of low cost airlines will fly in and out of secondary airports that charge lower landing fees so you have to account for the cost of getting to the airport as well.

Avoid extra fees

Extra fees are the bread and butter of low cost airlines.  Every year they catch countless unprepared passengers who end up paying much more than they had to.

For the most part, if you're prepared, follow the rules, and read the fine print you should be fine.  Here's some common low cost airline fees.

1) Check-in fee

The majority of discount airlines require you to check in online and if you forget, they'll charge you a huge fee up to $150 to do it at the check-in desk.

2) Boarding card fee

If your airline requires you to have a boarding card ticket, you'll have to print it on your own printer (A4 paper only).  Failing to do this will incur a fee.

3) Bag check

A carryon bag is almost always free but airlines are very strict about it's size and weight. They will carefully scrutinize your bag and if it doesn't meet their strict standards they'll require you to check it for an extra fee.

4) Change ticket fee

Double check everything before pressing the "purchase" button.  If you filled in anything wrong on the form like the flight dates, your name or passport number, you'll have to pay an extra fee to change it.  Sometimes the fee is so large that it's actually cheaper to just throw your ticket away and purchase a new one.
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