Tips when booking a budget airline

June is considering a budget airline for the first time and wants to know if there is anything she needs to know before she books.


Q. June
I usually like to fly with Qantas when I travel, whether internationally or domestic, but now that I have retired and am on a fixed income, I have been considering a budget airline for my next holiday. As I have not done this before, is there anything that I need to know before I book?

jetstar airplane on the tarmac

A. Budget airlines can save you a lot of money but there are a few tricks and traps to watch out for. Firstly, the prices might seem lower, but there are some sneaky added fees, which can end up costing you more money than what appears to be your initial outlay.

Some of these fees can be avoided, but it does require a pretty strict travel plan.

Baggage is one of the first ways budget airlines recoup some of the money from offering low fares. Some tips to avoid paying excess baggage fees include wearing extra layers of clothes on the plane and squeezing as much as you can into your carry-on luggage.

Other added fees that can easily be avoided, depending on airline you are travelling with, include paying for in-flight entertainment, or food beverages and alcohol.

If you want the luxury of reserving your own seat in advance, you should also be aware that some airlines will charge an extra fee for this privilege.

Another thing to watch out for is your exact destination, specifically the airport where you are landing. As one of our writer’s discovered recently some budget airlines can leave you quite some distance short of where you think you may be going.

While these tips sound negative, do not be put off booking with a budget carrier. If you don’t mind going without some of the extras, flying with a budget airline can save you a considerable amount of money, especially if you are considering taking more frequent holidays now you are enjoying your retirement.

What advice do you have for someone flying with a budget airline for the first time?

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