Budget airlines – are they worth the hassle?

This blog entry has been sitting our drafts for a little while, but after reading Watty Jay’s hilarious recount of his Spirit Airlines experience we felt it was time to finish and publish this entry!

It can be tempting to snap up a cheap flight, especially as you begin to travel more and costs increase with distance. While we are always on the lookout for a good deal, we try our best to stay away from really low budget airlines because we’ve seen, time and time again (through the experience of others), that you usually pay more in the end. Whether it’s with extra fees because the airline nickel and dimes you for everything or with time or frustration and aggravation because the airline is unorganized—cheap tickets usually end up costing more somehow.

Here is what we do as we prepare to take even longer trips to farther destinations in 2016:

Read as many airline reviews as it takes to feel comfortable buying a ticket. Ask well-traveled friends or associates in online travel groups who have had recent personal experiences. Just last week Cheril was searching for flights to India from Philly and one of the first options that came up was a “great deal.” It was Kuwait Airways. The second “best fare” was China Eastern Air. We have never been to this part of the world before and never flown any of these airlines but something just wasn’t right with how cheap their fares were for the distance of travel required. This is when Google, YouTube, Twitter, etc. becomes your best friend! A five minute search told us that Kuwait Airways might be the absolute worst way to get to where we’re going. Being uncomfortable on a 30+ hour journey was not worth saving $300!

Just check out these headline and review from from one of many terrible experiences:

“Better crawl, walk, drive or swim than fly Kuwait Airways”

 

“Avoid avoid avoid at all cost”

 

“Old, uncomfortable and late”

 

No thanks! lol. China Eastern was no better. If an airfare seems too good to be true do yourself a favor and search “Airline name + reviews” or “Airline name + sucks” to get the scoop on what you might be in for. Not only can you read the reviews but often times you can see portions of other folks’ flight on YouTube. There’s really no reason to be surprised by a flight experience with all of these tools available to you before booking. Heed the signs and only fly budget if you have no other option and even then be prepared for what might be an all day event. Also keep these things in mind so you’re mentally prepared for what might go wrong:

  • Flight delays
  • No food on international flights
  • Hard, uncomfortable seats and tiny tray tables
  • Unpleasant staff
  • Poorly maintained aircraft (inside and out)
  • Minimal inflight entertainment, if any
  • Info boards that aren’t updated with current flight status in the airlines terminal.

There are budget airlines all over the world that some people who have mastered the art of dealing with. In Western Europe Ryan Air comes to mind. We debated Ryan airline last year but decided against it for the same reasons. The only way we could ever risk our travel plans on a budget airline is if we were carrying no bags (not even carry-on), had all day, brought our own food and the flight time was less than 90 minutes. The chances of this happening are very small.

As for our India trip, we’ve narrowed it down to Emirates and Qatar Airways. We’ll be buying our tickets soon and looking forward to taking our first trip east! Do you have any airline travel horror stories? Which airline will you never fly again? What about the best? Chime in down in the comments section and let us know.

Until next time,

Cheril and Monica

 

 

cost over comfort or comfort over cost

4 thoughts on “Budget airlines – are they worth the hassle?

  1. Nic

    Good Day Ladies. Thank you all so much for this entry. My partner and I will be doing more traveling in 2016. This will help us a great deal when making flight plans.

  2. Saritta

    Im in Thailand now with my sister and we have used AirAsia for flights to Chiang Mai and Phuket. Even thouse this is a budget airline they are very efficient for flights under 2 hours. The leg room is the tightest, you have to pay separately for luggage, food is only pre purchase…But the flughts were ontime, baggage comes out quick and the aircraft seemed “like new”

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