What you need to know before you book with 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.

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.

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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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    COMMENTS

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    JONDON
    1st Feb 2020
    12:08pm
    This week I have searched Virgin and Jetstar for fares from Launceston to Sydney in October, and came up with a fare for Jetstar that was only $30 less than Virgin, and that was without paying for seat selection, and Virgin has 23kg luggage, where I would have paid $21 for 20kgs with Jetstar, so I am staying with Virgin with that small amount of difference in price.
    Tanker
    1st Feb 2020
    1:18pm
    Some years ago when flying Melbourne to Cairns I looked for the cheapest flight only to discover that Qantas was actually cheaper than both Jetstar and Virgin. Probably an anomaly but we went Qantas.
    It will pay to search for the cheapest flight BUT then look at the fine print as well as luggage charges and any other charges that could apply. The cheapest is not always the most economical.
    Robertj
    1st Feb 2020
    4:08pm
    There is no fine print to scour through, it is all up front when you book, luggage costs, seats (you don't have to pre book and pay) plus most airlines you now have to pay now for seat selection, meals though some people cannot go without food even for a couple of hours, in flight entertainment ever seen a book? On some Qantas flights the service is actually provided by Jetstar though if you book via Qantas at the dearer price you get the Qantas extras, points, food.
    Most of my flights are with Jetstar as while it is a night flight I don't want a snack at 1am,I could bring something to nibble if I want to, no entertainment thingy needed, only hand luggage as short stay yet with Qantas I am charged for these items whether I want them or not. Biggest advantage it is a direct flight while the other airlines go via there bases so it is 3 or more hours longer with a change and over $100 dearer.
    I have found the rare flight by other airlines which may be a little cheaper but not for a few years now.
    Gra
    2nd Feb 2020
    3:21pm
    I would definitely rather fly Qantas and know I am going to reach my destination than chance my luck with Tiger or any of the other Cheap as Chips airlines. Ever been ripped off by Qantas Mick or just flapping your gums again??
    Tanker
    1st Feb 2020
    1:18pm
    Some years ago when flying Melbourne to Cairns I looked for the cheapest flight only to discover that Qantas was actually cheaper than both Jetstar and Virgin. Probably an anomaly but we went Qantas.
    It will pay to search for the cheapest flight BUT then look at the fine print as well as luggage charges and any other charges that could apply. The cheapest is not always the most economical.
    Mac
    1st Feb 2020
    10:40pm
    I booked & paid to go Melbourne to Honolulu with Jetstar on June 6th, 2019. Exactly 51 days before departure they cancelled my flight but did not bother to tell me. I found out through a posting on Facebook when someone else's flight had also been cancelled. When I called them they offered me a flight four days earlier but refused to cover the additional accommodation & meals etc (about A$1500). Travel insurer was not interested as Jetstar cancelled for "Operational reasons". Faced with losing over A$6000 of land content & a cruise I was forced to re-book with Qantas & I am out of pocket to the tune of A$1240.16 for two one way tickets after Jetstar's refund of the outbound flight (My initial outlay was A$808 for two return tickets & as a self funded retiree I would not have booked the original flight had it not been so cheap). DON'T TRAVEL JETSTAR!!!!
    Willfish
    2nd Feb 2020
    8:49pm
    Never ceased to be amused by people who go to extraordinary lengths to same a few dollars, then spend a lot of time and effort justifying the time they wasted. Pick the best airline you can really afford, pay for the ticket and move on. My life is just not worth the $6.35 I could save by spending 4 hours on the net scouring the net comparing apples with apples.


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