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Avoid Extra Costs When Travelling With Low-Cost Airlines

Published on: June 24, 2014

Be careful when booking flights with budget airlines, while the basic fare may be very cheap compared to other airlines, once you have added on all the extras and charges you may end up paying almost the same price as a non-budget airline. Here’s what to watch for:


Baggage charges
Having bags to check in to the hold can sometimes be the biggest extra cost. A family of four with one bag each to check in could easily pay over £300 just for luggage on return flights with some budget airlines.


If possible travel with only hand luggage, make sure you know the maximum weight and size of carry-on bags, as limits vary by airline.


If you do need to check in bags always pay online in advance. Although it can still be costly, it can may save you up to 20% off the price compared to paying at the airport. As with hand luggage check the maximum weight allowed for each bag with the airline you’re travelling with, typically its 20kg.


Payment charges
Some airlines charge for credit card payments, airlines will explain any additional fee for paying by credit card up front so that charges do not come as a surprise at the end of a lengthy booking process. Most airlines have a lower fee for paying by debit card. However, if you pay with a credit card you get financial protection against the airline going bankrupt.


Check in charges
Some low-cost airlines charge extra just for checking in for their flights. There are ways to either avoid this cost or keep it to a minimum. For some airlines the cheapest promotional fares don’t have a charge applied to them. If you can’t get one of these the check in fare will always be much lower if you check in online rather than doing it at the airport.


Boarding and seating charges
Some airlines charge extra for ‘priority’ or ‘speedy’ boarding – letting you be amongst the first on-board giving you the opportunity to get the seats you want.


Other low-cost airlines charge extra for pre-booking specific seats. Many regular travellers question whether it is worth paying such charges as boarding groups often get mixed together. With low-cost airlines, if you don’t want to fork out extra for pre-booked seats, to stand the best chance of being allocated the best seats, check in early and online if possible.


Telephone booking charges
Most airlines offer a discount for reservations made on their website and some impose a surcharge for bookings made via their call centre. Book online to take advantage of online booking discounts.