Are budget airlines really “budget friendly?”

In today’s travel world, we all want the best deal around. Over the last few years ago, “budget airlines” have begun popping up to compete with the more well known airlines. Airlines such as SouthWest, Frontier, Allegiant, Spirit, and WOW are just a few that come to mind.

What does it mean to be a budget airline?  These airlines offer super low fares to certain destinations and only within certain markets. Each city differs as to the budget airlines located there. Also, with most of these airlines you won’t be able to find their fare pricing on your general flight search engine. You have the book directly through them.

So what are the pros?

– Super low fares to popular destinations. For instance, Allegiant offers one way fares from Charlotte (Concord) to various cities in Florida for as low as $35. The sooner you book, the cheaper the price.

– They are always running specials for booking flights in advance. (Normally 6 weeks+)

– Money saved to go toward activities once you get to your destination.

Here are the Cons:

– While the fare is low, these airlines tend to have a lot of extra fees too. They charge for baggage (carry on and checked), your seat(typically any seat costs), and for printing boarding passes at the airport. The closer to your departure date the more these fees increase.

– They typically do not serve snacks or complimentary drinks.

– They may not run flight service every day so you may be limited in your trip dates.

– They typically do not offer first class or business class seating.

I will say that a lot of this information does not apply to SouthWest airlines. They actually allow free checked bags (up to 2) and they offer complimentary snacks and drinks. Over the years they have become one of my favorite airlines. You can always find a fare sale through them. The only negative is that they do not offer a lot of sale fare options from my city. However, if you are in a larger market you have lots of options through them.

I encourage you to check out these airlines as well when planning your trips. If you are booking far enough in advance they have proven to save you on cash. At least compare the options between them and a major airline to see which is better for your budget.

I would love to hear your experience with any budget airlines you may have used. Did it turn out to be a great decision or more of a headache? Let me know!!

Happy Traveling ✈️


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