Are budget airlines really within budget?


Recently, airlines such as Frontier and Spirit are offering fares remarkably lower than the competition. You are hard pressed to even book with a major carrier when you see the fares offered by a budget carrier.

But, what happens when you discover how they keep prices so low? The task of finding cheap air fare becomes difficult and frustrating.

In order to save a buck, Spirit airlines began charging for carry on bags. Yes, you read that right, carry on bags, usually free on most airlines are now costing you upwards of $100 one way.

No middle ground here. Sink or swim, suckers.
No middle ground here. Sink or swim, suckers.

Perhaps the incentive is to pack light, saving on fuel costs. But not everyone has the luxury of living out of a purse for a week. For a “budget” traveler, deciding you need to bring a carry on rather than a small personal item might break the bank.

Are airlines punishing us? Or is this a marketing ploy that pulls in a certain demographic only to reveal hidden fees and  unfair charges after it’s too late? Either way, it’s no news that travel is a luxury, especially by air. But trying to mask a budget fare that has hidden fees associated with a basic need (a carryon)  almost compels me to book with a carrier who charges a bit more in fare but includes a carry on and personal item.

What are your thoughts?

3 comments on “Are budget airlines really within budget?”

  1. Not all budget carriers are created equal though! The key to budget airlines is reading the reviews of the airline’s service, restrictions and fees before you book your ticket! I’ve flown with budget airlines many times on several continents, they are much more common and have been operating longer in Europe, Australia and Asia and are growing in popularity in the US and reading the reviews can go a long way in determining if it’s a good fit for your needs.

    For example, we recently flew with Norwegian Air and had a lovely experience. They are a budget carrier but the service was still very nice, the seats were comfortable and they even had WiFi (slow but free) on the flights! And they are now starting to offer flights between the US and Scandinavia for great rates! I’ll definitely be checking them out for my next trip to Europe!

    Whereas my experience with other budget airlines, e.g. the infamous RyanAir, have been much more stressful. RyanAir will try to screw you in anyway they can and can quickly turn your budget flight into an unconfortable and expensive way to get to your next destination. I found it too stressful and would not choose to fly with them again because they really make you feel that it’s all about the money and I was worried the entire time that they were going to suddenly spring a charge on us.

    I really recommend reading the reviews online of other people’s experience with the airline before booking your flight with a budget carrier to get a feel for the level of service, how strict they are with luggage restrictions and their fees both for hidden fees tacked on when you are purchasing the ticket and more importantly the fees they might spring on you at the gate if they determine your luggage to be overweight or oversized.


    1. These are all good points, Linda! I did notice while traveling in Australia that they do have more budget airlines abroad than they do here, but that is starting to change. I must say, that flying today with Spirit was a great experience, albeit different than the free flights I became accustomed to through my friend’s flight benefits on United (SPOILED BRAT, I know). Things went smoothly, but overall comforts were at a all time low (extra charge to pick a seat, extra charge for water, more seats crammed into a tiny area, shoving all my things into a small backpack to avoid a carry on fee)…

      I would fly Spirit again just realizing that I am getting a very low fare and I can use the money I save on comfort WHILE traveling to use once I arrive. Though, they do say, it’s all about the journey, not the destination. I usually sleep through a flight anyway!

      Next time I will do some research and read reviews of other competing budget carriers (this was very last minute because my grandmother passed away). Thanks for the tip!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s