Cheap airlines are a great thing. We all know that saving money on travel will help add more adventure to your life, but you have to know how to play the game. My first experiences with cheap airlines were in Europe with Ryan Air when I studied abroad and I was excited when the US started to do the same for both Southwest Airlines and Spirit Airlines, but I had learned my lesson long ago to read the fine print when using a budget airline.
Although your ticket is cost effective, you will have to know how to follow the rules so that you don’t get hit with a bunch of hidden fees. The following are some tips to keep in mind before you click that “purchase” button.
- Learn to pack light— They are serious about only having a personal item on the plane. Now, I have used a backpack as my “purse” and there were no problems with that. But other bags or suitcases that resemble carry-ons will get you a pretty hefty fee. If you can’t pack lighter, I would suggest paying for a large suitcase that will be checked baggage and share with a friend. If you buy it online before your flight it’s $40 each way (at the airport it’s much more), and then you and your friend can split the cost and not have to worry about not having everything you need. Plus you can still have your personal item!
- Check-in online and print your tickets at home— The more you have to do at the airport can result in added fees. You don’t want to spend $10 on printing out a piece of paper, do you?
- Make new friends with the people on the plane— You don’t get specific seats on the plane unless you want to pay extra; it’s first-come, first-serve which means that you might not get to sit with the people that you came with. Therefore, get comfortable with the people that around you instead, or take a nap.
- Pack a snack— You won’t get food or drink on the plane without paying for it, so bring something along with you if you think you will get hungry or thirsty. I personally always bring a Cliff bar and an empty water bottle that I can fill up once I go through security.
So if you are okay with these inconveniences then book your ticket today! Otherwise, I’d suggest that you spend the extra money somewhere else.