How to Make Sure Your Airline Really is Low Cost

It’s no secret that budget airlines can soon earn back the money you think you have saved by charging sky high premiums on services most people take for granted. Follow these top 10 tips to stay a savvy saver whilst you travel with a low-cost airline.

1) Check in Online

Some companies can charge almost the price of the flight to check in, so check in for free online to avoid the cost. Always print and bring the confirmation note that you have done this, as some airlines will charge you for forgetting it.

Wherever your going - lets hope the weather is nice.
Wherever you’re going, let’s hope the weather is nice!

2) Work Out Where You’re Landing

It might sound obvious, but some airlines charge less because they fly to smaller airports, which can be much further from your intended destination. If you were flying to London, for example, touching down in Stansted will cost you much more to get you to your central London hotel than Heathrow.

3) Watch Out For Tax

They say the only things that are certain are death and taxes – but make sure that the tax on your flight doesn’t take you by surprise. When comparing deals look for flights that specifically say that tax is included in the quote price; otherwise you could end up with a shock when you get to the online checkout.

4) Work Out Your Luggage

If you are only going for a short trip, like a weekend away, see if you could manage with just hand luggage, as this is a classic cost for budget airlines. Equally, if you’re children could share a suitcase there’s no point paying for one each.

If you are taking more unusual items – such as sports equipment, musical instruments or ski gear, you might want to look at having them privately couriered as it can work out cheaper.

5) Travel Light

Always check the guidelines for weight and size limits for your luggage, and check before you set off – the cost of a tape measure and scales is far less than the fines you get for being over allowance. To keep weights low on stowed away luggage, wear all your heaviest items to fly in and consider carrying things like hairdryers or shoes in your carry-on bag. For the truly determined, there is no ruling against wearing a coat with huge pockets to carry your heaviest gear.

6) Take a Picnic

Liquids are restricted to 100ml at security control, but you can buy drinks once you’ve passed through this and they’ll be a lot cheaper than on the flight. Take your own food also. Cut the cost of an in-flight meal or pricey snacks by packing your own crisps or sandwiches.

7) Check all the Tick Boxes

When you’re booking, some airlines still require you to “opt out” of certain things they charge for, even though it is against EU rules. So make sure you aren’t paying extra for things you don’t want – like priority boarding, and in-flight meal, or their travel insurance. Pay attention throughout the booking in process and untick anything you aren’t interested in.

8) Make Sure Your Details are Correct

It sounds obvious, but a mistake when you’re booking could come at a hefty cost. Airlines charge to change names and other details (Ryanair is currently £100 per name change!), and if you need to reschedule it can sometimes be cheaper to just book a new one than alter your existing plans.

9) Are Your Extras for Both Journeys?

If you have booked a return flight, make sure any extras that you have chosen to pay for are applied to both flights. Some airlines make it difficult to realise that your extra luggage allowance, for example, is only for one leg of your journey – landing you with a big charge on your return. For a 20 kilo case, this charge could be £400, so it’s worth reading the fine print.

10) Pay by Debit or Pre Paid Card

Airlines often add a large surcharge for processing a payment for a flight by credit card. So avoid that by paying on a debit card – from Dec 2012 airlines have had to advertise the charge for using a debit or pre paid card in the headline price they give you.