The Truth About Low Cost Carriers

The Truth About low cost carriers

we’ve all been online at one point in time looking for flights for an upcoming holiday, when all of a sudden one flight in particular jumps out at you. Its much cheaper than all of the others, sometimes 100+ Euros cheaper. Great deal right? Not always. These airlines are classified as a low cost carrier (LCC) or sometimes an ultra low cost carrier (ULCC). They all seem like a great way for you to save some money but that’s not always the case.

The way these airlines operate and are able to offer such deals is because the service is very minimal and you often have to pay for some services that you wouldn’t on a major carrier like British Airways or Air France. If you look into the service of airlines that are considered “Low cost” it usually consists of low quality product that you even may find yourself paying top dollar for. These airlines usually opt for the cheapest product instead of going for the top of the line product that will please the customers indulging in them.

Staying on the topic of product, if you’ve ever been on one of these low cost carriers you ‘ll of probably noticed the seats. Those god awful things they call seats that you have to sit in for the next 1 to 2 hours or more. They’re usually made of cheap material like plastic or thin rubber and feel horrible. This is a technique used by airlines to save a large amount of money. Think about it, will it cost you more to get the wood rocking chair or the nice reclining love seat? You get my point. As you know there’s often 100+ seats in an aircraft and the price of the seats can add up rather quickly so wherever an airline can cut costs, believe me they’ll do it.

Have you ever flown with an airline like Ryanair? When you book a flight and your prompted to pick your seat? You have to pay for that, now this isn’t something that is only present with LCC’s because airlines like American in the US require you to pay on some of their aircraft. You can look for a heightened price on a LCC though.

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Picture this, you show up to the airport, get to the ticket counter to check in and your asked to pay an airport check in fee… Excuse me? Yes some airlines do charge for check in at the airport. Airlines like Ryanair charge you 55 Euros to check in at the airport! That’s each way by the way. That amounts to 110 Euros round trip added on to your holiday. These little things help low cost carriers bring in extra money and you’d be surprised just how much that is.

I need to pay for my bags, I need to pay to check in, I need to pay for my seat, I need to pay for snacks on board. So why not just fly with another airline that may offer better service?

Truth is that there is ways to get around some of these cost. Well as long as you can pack light and don’t mind where you sit. So here’s a few tips to get around these fee’s.

– Personal items (backpacks/duffel bags) are free. If you can pack light you can avoid those 25-40 Euro bag fee’s each way.

– If you don’t mind where you sit you can wait until check in where you’ll be assigned a seat for free. That’s another 4-15 Euro savings.

– Check in online. Even if you don’t know how, find someone who does and have them help. It’ll save you another big fee, sometimes 100 Euros round trip.

As you can see if you follow these three tips you can save close to 200 Euros. That’s huge and it will make your low cost flight actually low cost. It’s not bad to fly with low cost carriers, in fact I’ve done it four times in the past month and a half. Obviously my experience with American airlines two months ago was much better but the low cost flights were bearable. I realized I saved so much money as I packed light with only a personal item and even though I picked my seat I saved about a hundred Euros ever time and almost 400 when I traveled early August with a local ULCC.

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Jake Smith
Jake Smith
Director of Special Projects - Jake is an experienced aviation journalist and strategic leader, regularly contributing to the commercial aviation section of Travel Radar alongside leading strategy and innovation including livestreaming and our store.



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