You’ve done it.
You’ve scored a bargain basement flight to....well who cares where it’s to.
It was just so cheap!
But before you start to celebrate, make sure your steal isn’t going to cost you a fortune – and this isn’t just about making sure you read the fine print.
Here are five potential problems with your budget flight:
Your flight is leaving at 6am
That’s alright. You’ve been up that early before. Or was that just because you hadn’t been to bed yet? But being awake is the least of your problems when you have to be at the airport two-hours prior for an international flight. And the airport is an hour from the city. And the train from the station near your hotel doesn’t run until 5.30am.
If you’ve booked an early flight, make sure you can get there. Check out the best way to get to the airport and select your accommodation accordingly so it’s not too hard to navigate in the morning.
The airport is in another city
Ryanair’s airport in Paris isn’t exactly in Paris. Paris Beauvais is nearly 90km away from any sighting of the Eiffel Tower and you have to add another 1 hour and 15 minutes and €15 to your journey for the bus ride into Paris. Suddenly your trip to the city of love isn’t the quick getaway you hoped.
This situation isn’t unique to Paris. Many of the budget airlines operate from smaller airports far from the city – it’s one of the reasons they can afford to offer low-cost flights. Research and factor in the additional cost and time of getting to and from the airport.
The costly fine print
One good thing can be said for budget airlines – the fine print isn’t actually that fine. The additional fees you face if you don’t play by the rules are very clearly spelt out. Heavy luggage? You pay. Carry-on bag too big? You pay. Didn’t print your boarding pass? You pay. Budget airfares don’t come with much wiggle room.
One additional hitch if you’re traveling with a budget carrier in Europe, non-EU passport holders must get their passport checked at the check in desk. You won’t be allowed to board without the stamp.
Read your booking information very carefully to avoid extra fees or missing your flight.
You’ve landed at 11.20pm
That’s not too late you think to yourself. Then you find yourself walking the streets of a new city at 1.30am trying to find your hotel. What happened? Calculating how long it’s going to take to get from your plane seat to your hotel bed can be tricky.
Collecting your luggage and going through border control and customs can easily take half an hour, if not more. Then you need to get from the airport to the city just as public transport is easing off.
If you must arrive late into a city, choose the most convenient accommodation you can and make sure reception will be open when you arrive.
Your budget trip turned out not to be so cheap
The trip started out dirt cheap – but then came the “administration fee” when you booked the flights, the credit card fee when you paid for them, the shuttle to the in-the-middle-of-nowhere-airport and the 24-hour reception hotel that cost more than you wanted to pay. And to top it off you had to repack your suitcase on the terminal floor to bring your luggage underweight because you were NOT paying €15 per kilo.
When booking a cheap flight, factor in all the potential extra costs. A more expensive flight at a better time with less restrictive regulations may work out to be more convenient and in the long run, cheaper.
Travel tip shared by Megan_H