The Dos & Don’ts Of Budget Airlines

My dream of seeing as many European cities as possible came true all thanks to the magic of budget airlines.

BUDGET AIRLINES
PHOTO CHRISTINA SINGH

When I first decided to go to Prague, it was the only thing on my mind for a long time. It was my first time in Europe, and I wanted to see as much as I could during my short stay. However, I had a very limited amount of funds and was worried that I would only be able to visit one or two additional cities in Europe, at the most. To my surprise, not only was booking a bus or train ticket easy and affordable, but flying was also not nearly as expensive as it was in the United States. In fact, my three plane tickets from Prague to London to Dublin and back to Prague cost less than a one-way ticket from New York to Atlanta. My dream of seeing as many European cities as possible came true all thanks to the magic of budget airlines.

There are flights with these airlines that are significantly cheaper than flights with major airline companies such as Delta and British Airways. To get the most out of your money, booking a flight on a budget airline is smart and practical. However, there is one major DO when it comes to booking one of these flights: read all of the instructions twice and follow them to the dot.

PASSPORT
PHOTO WENDY HUNG

If you forget this one DO, then your budget flight can end up being one of your most expensive flights. DON’T ever forget to print out your boarding pass – it can cost up to sixty Euros to simply print your ticket at the desk. Most budget airlines randomly check to ensure your bag fits their specific dimensions, so taking the risk can lead to a very expensive mandatory checked-in bag. So DON’T carry a bag that is slightly too big or heavy, and definitely DON’T bring more than one (even a small purse can sometimes count as your carry-on luggage with the stricter airlines). DON’T expect much customer service. If you have a question, DON’T ask a random airport information employee; go straight to your carrier’s information desk.  On our way to Dublin, we asked a general information employee if we needed to get our passports stamped, and he said that was an old policy. Unfortunately, we found out too late that Ryannair was the only carrier that still required you to get a stamp, resulting in us missing our flight and paying another one hundred and twenty Euros for another flight: almost three times our original cost.

So simply remember to follow all instructions, and for those of us who are a bit more paranoid, even read the fine print. Otherwise, a supremely affordable trip can be become a costly airport disaster with even the tiniest mistake.

Christina Singh

A graduate of Emory University, Christina traveled extensively throughout Europe which reflect upon her articles specifically in Prague, Venice, London, and more.

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