Budget Airlines Explained
Budget airlines are mystifying at times. Their advertised rates are quite low and unbelievable at times when compared to ‘regular’ flights. Why is this? One might ask. Well the answer is really that it is a game of numbers.
How do they operate?
Budget airlines function based off of the premise that only a certain percentage of the market is going to get the really cheap flights. The rest of the people will either pay a decent price or higher and more ‘normal’ price. Think of it like a bell curve example. The people that purchase their tickets at the right time will get great deals. These people are generally purchasing flights months in advance. The people in the middle will get a decent deal, but they will still pay a fair price for the tickets. These people usually book a flight within a few weeks. The people who pay the most, usually purchase a ticket within a week of their trip. Thus, what happens is that the ticket prices essentially equal out. That is the main reason that flights can be advertised at really low prices, only a few people will get them at those rates.
What to expect?
Well, certainly if you are thinking about taking a budget flight then you are probably not thinking about luxury. This is a good thing because you are not going to get it. By purchasing a cheap ticket, you are not going to get all of the bells and whistles of a normal airliner or more luxurious carrier. Expect a guaranteed trip from your trip origin to your destination. Anything else is lagniappe.
So, what is the catch?
I suppose, the catch, if there had to be one, would be that budget airlines do not always use the most convenient airports. For example, they will use a smaller airport that is out of town, which will leave you with the responsibility of getting yourself to the center of the city or any other destination point that you seek. Also, these airlines typically have fine print rules that you need to follow closely, or they will use it as an opportunity to charge you extra. These rules can include things like strict baggage limits, online check-in, or printed ticket. In effect, each airline generall has a specific stipulation or set of guidelines that you need to follow when using them.
Quick look at the catches for Specific Airlines
Ryanair – Print bordering pass before, online check-in, airport outside of town, random low fares
Spirit – Low fares from joining $9-Fare Club, uses major airports
Budget airlines really are not so bad. Sure, you are not going to be getting great service, but do you really need it? You can use it as an opportunity to appreciate those luxuries that you are used to, while saving tons of money that you can better use to keep traveling.
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