Caveat Emptor: Disadvantages of Taking a Budget Airline

I'm a big fan of budget airlines. As I stated before, Low-Cost Carriers - as they are also known - democratized travel and made backpacking within reach to thousands of budding travelers. But, taking a budget airline can have its disadvantages. 
Here are some things that can make you go postal to the unfortunate schmo hogging the space beside the luggage carousel:   
    • You get what you pay for. Sure, the fares are cheap; where else can you book a flight to a foreign destination for as little as $40? But there is a caveat to this - you pay for everything else. You want a choice window seat? pay a few more dollars. Want refreshments on board? Pay up. You don't get caviar h'ordeuvres seating in the Y-class of a budget airline. 
    • The ungodly hours. To save money most budget carriers operate red eye flights - they depart late at night and arrive at the destination at the wee hours in the morning - to take advantage of cheaper airport fees. That means most public transportation no longer operate when you arrive at your destination, so that the money you save from cheaper tickets might be gone because you have to take a cab going to your hostel. Or you may have to sleep in the airport itself and wait for dawn. 
    • Inflexible ticket options. Budget airlines often have no option for changing your itinerary. Missing a flight means booking a new (and often more expensive) ticket. Tickets bought on sale, most likely than not, can't be changed or they charge you with re-booking fees that are just as expensive as booking a new flight. 
    • Indifferent Staff. Again to save money, budget airlines often train their staff to multi-task. Flight attendants might also have to man the boarding gates, clean the interior, go around the plane selling you souvenir items, serve you a beverage that cost as much as 3x compared to if bought in 7-11, and try to fit in an over-sized luggage that somebody insists can be a carry-on. It would be no surprise that the staff is overworked, and can be indifferent to the passengers.  
    • No inflight entertainment. Unless you brought your iPad with you, entertaining yourself on a four-hour flight would only be limited to eavesdropping on the heated conversation between the FA and that annoying passenger who doesn't know the meaning of "low-cost carrier" 
    • Being nickle-and-dimed. Budget airlines operate on razon-thin profit margins (so I'm told) so they take every opportunity to earn money. They charge all these creatively-named fees on unsuspecting passengers to earn more: Convenience fee. Web check in fee. Fuel surcharges. Currency conversion fee. and the list goes on. One budget airline is even considering fees for using the toilet. 
    • That feeling of being like in a bus. A crowded bus with seats made for children. In rush hour. With colicky babies bawling behind you. And you just try to zone out the claustrophobic feeling by upping your iPod's volume so that you won't go postal on the annoying guy beside you who's hogging the arm rest. Yeah, that feeling.

    With these, why are budget airlines still popular? It is inherent to the travelers to have a bit of masochism in them to endure all these? Is price solely the determining factor in booking a flight, that a small indignity gets trumped by the half-priced fare? Or have we, travelers, already developed a Zen-like detachment to every bit of discomfort that we encounter when we travel? 

    For me, all I think of is the white beach and the rum-and-Coke at the end of my destination, and the armrest hogger beside me will be miles away.
    Budget airline reviews:- AirAsia- Tiger Airways- ZestAir
    [republished from kintoy.blogspot.comby Kin Enriquez


    1. I have experienced some of what you describe with carriers that could hardly be considered budget. True my seats were in the coach section of the plane but I swear every year they make the seats smaller and smaller to cram....more and more people on board. I also get charged extra for checked luggage weighing over 50 lbs. Also, friendly courteous flight attendants are a thing of the past. Nowadays they mostly just tolerate you and that's about all you get. All of this while paying $300 - $400 for a domestic flight. For all these reasons I hate air travel. I do it when there is no other choice. My favorite way to travel is by train. Having tried it in Europe a few years ago and I am now hooked. Unfortunately, the USA has no rail network to speak of except the old rusty bits used for commercial freight.


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