Smart Travel: Questions to ask before booking a low-cost air carrier fare.


When looking for great deals to travel over a weekend or an extended weekend, we have to take the time to look at whether or not it’s going to be beneficial for us to use certain air carrier. There are some things to look out for when booking on a low-cost air carrier.

Are there connections?

This is the first thing to look for. If there are connections then you have to determine if the amount of extra time does not cut into your weekend too much. Many low-cost carriers are able to provide such low fares because they make multiple stops along the way.

Do I have to pay for my luggage?

Ok, here is a tricky one. Many low-cost carriers will charge you for your checked luggage and your carry-ons, not your personal item. So, make sure to determine if you need more luggage or not. If you can get away with a slightly larger backpack, only, for the weekend then you won’t have any extra fees. Otherwise, expect to pay $30-40 extra, each way. Spirit Airlines charges $37 extra for a carry-on, each way.

Are meals/snacks included or do I have to pay extra?

Maybe you’re off to Mexico or England for a long weekend? Anytime your flight is over 3 hours you’re probably going to need a snack. Many low-cost carriers offer food and beverage service for an extra fee. You may be able to pay for this up front, an option Norwegian Air provides, or on the plane. Or you can just bring your own, either way, it’s good to know if you have to pay for water. Additional fees for food and drink will run you anywhere from $3-15.

Do I care where I sit?

I don’t know about you but I will pay extra to sit where I want, however you may not care. Either way, it will be an added extra on any low-cost flights. You will pay anywhere from $15-100 extra depending on where you want to sit. Ryanair will charge you $6 to pick your seat. May not seem like much but when you\’re on a smaller aircraft it\’s beneficial to be able to pick your seat, especially since their seats tend to be smaller.

Once you go through all the add-ons you might be better off going with a regular carrier who includes a lot of these extras. Make sure to do your research and compare.

How do I get the best deal?

Whenever I look at a “fantastic” deal on airfare I start a mock checkout. I select the deal in question and begin the process of purchasing the ticket. You can go through the checkout all the way up until inputting your payment. It will give you the actual price for the ticket you are looking to purchase.

Once you have that number go onto Skyscanner or Google flights and put in the same flight parameters, ie. destination, dates, etc. and see what prices they have for similar flights. If the low-cost carrier deal is still the best, purchase it! If not, go with the regular flight.

By doing a little bit of legwork you can save yourself some cash, which will be better spent on your mini-break. Until next time.

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