Whether you’ve heard good stories or bad stories, one thing is for sure; you’ve definitely heard about budget airlines. While budget airlines have some drawbacks, they are definitely something you might want to consider taking advantage of.
If you’re interested in more tips for finding cheap flights that aren’t limited to budget airlines, check out our post about cheap flight tips. You can save up to 55% on your next trip just by using some of those tips!
Are Budget Airlines Bad?
Budget airlines get an unfairly negative reputation, even to the degree that a lot of people are actually afraid of them. While I understand that the prices may seem too good to be true, there is actually not a single thing to worry about.
It all started when I studied in Italy for a semester and discovered Ryanair and Wizz Air. These airlines operate flights all over Europe for bottom-of-the-barrel prices.
I’m not kidding – you can get round-trip international flights for $30. Strictly because of these airlines, I visited 17 countries in my single semester in Italy. I am obsessed with budget airfare, and you really should be too.
Budget airlines aren’t just great in Europe. They’re great all over the world!
For example, I once flew from Philadelphia to Las Vegas on Frontier Airlines for $40.
When utilized properly, budget airlines can truly be amazing.
Are Budget Airlines Safe?
Regarding safety, there are some things you should know. Firstly, the planes are the same planes that the major airlines use. On a budget airline, you’ll be either on a Boeing 737 or an Airbus 320 for short to medium-haul flights, and those are the same exact planes you’d be on if you flew Delta, American, or even Emirates which is one of the nicest airlines in the world.
Secondly, the pilots aren’t rejects that flunked out of flight school and couldn’t get a job with a major airline. In fact, I spoke to a flight attendant from Frontier Airlines one time who told me that most of the pilots for these airlines are actually pilots that chose to leave their jobs with major airlines to move to budget airlines because of better pay, benefits, and work-life balance.
I have personally flown on the following budget airlines and never had a single problem: Ryanair, Wizz Air, Frontier, Spirit, Allegiant, Viva Aerobus, Volaris, Norwegian, Easyjet, Eurowings, Veuling, LEVEL, Flydubai, GOL, and LATAM.
I’ve flown on over 100 budget flights and am alive to tell the tale with thousands of dollars of savings. As long as you acknowledge that there are a couple of sacrifices that help to bring that ticket price down, your expectations will always be met. Not everyone is willing to make these sacrifices, and for this reason, budget airlines aren’t for everyone and every flight route.
Things to Consider when Flying on Budget Airlines
I want to tell you up front what many of these sacrifices are so that you can decide for yourself whether or not you’re ready to save hundreds of dollars on flight tickets.
To me, these tradeoffs are worth it for some flights and not for others. On flights that are 4 hours or less, you don’t really need a meal and a movie. Giving up the snacks and the free little liquor bottles and glasses of wine is a sacrifice, but if you really need something to get you through your flight, grab it at the airport.
An example of this is in Paris. I mentioned in my Paris travel guide that most airlines fly through Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) but budget airlines use Orly Airport (ORY) which is a 45-minute trek out of the city. A bit inconvenient and time-consuming, but all in all those tradeoffs are small for the hundred dollars you can save on the flight.
Are Budget Airlines Worth It?
In my opinion, yes.
The one tradeoff that does really sting is the extra cost for baggage, but if you can squeeze your things into a carry-on sized bag (which is entirely possible, and I do it every time), you’ll only be out $20 round trip; this cost is nothing compared to the savings on the ticket!
Honestly, think about how much you pack for a trip and compare that to how much you actually use. When we started packing smarter, we realized just how little we actually use! Now we can go on a two-week trip and share a single carry-on-sized bag.
If you’re getting on a long-haul flight to Europe or further, you might want to consider an airline with more complete service. We flew from New York to Amsterdam on Norwegian airlines, and it definitely wasn’t the poshest flight we have ever been on, but it was only a $200 round trip.
As I said, it’s all up to the route and how many sacrifices you can tolerate, but for weekend getaways or week-long trips on a route that is under 4 hours, you really can’t beat these airlines.
Tips for Flying on Budget Airlines
So now you know the truth about safety and practicality of budget airlines. Here are our golden tips for having a smooth budget airline experience.
That’s all I have for you about budget airlines. I hope you learned a little and feel comfortable about your next budget airline flight!
If you have any questions or thoughts, drop a comment below.