Low-Cost Carriers: Not Always a Bargain
Travel Blog • Eva Holland • 04.24.09 | 11:52 AM ET
Fodor’s posted a helpful reminder for thrifty travelers this week: Be wary of European budget airlines. Of course, those low-cost carriers have generally been a huge help in reducing the expense of European travel, but, as writer Doug Stallings points out, they aren’t always as cheap as they seem.
His first two points are, for me, the most important: low-cost flights tend to leave from secondary airports, and at odd times of day.
When I lived in the U.K. I came perilously close to booking a £20 flight from Newcastle (the nearest city to my university) to Stockholm—before realizing that I would have to reach the airport before any trains started running for the morning, and would land again, a few days later, an hour or more after they’d stopped for the night. The potential damage? A £50 cab ride each way, or an additional $200. Suddenly, the midday fare on a more mainstream airline didn’t seem quite so pricey.
I still book tickets on low-cost carriers from time to time, but I go in knowing the circumstances of my trip and doing my research on the flight’s timing and departure. Do I need to make an important connection? Is it difficult and/or expensive to get to the secondary airport? Will I have a lot of baggage with me? Generally, if the answer to these questions is “Yes,” then I may end up getting better value from a more established carrier. (Via @TravelEditor)