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Budget Airlines: Are They Really Worth It?

by Eugenia Lazaris

Nov 23, 2022

© Kaedeenari | Dreamstime.com


Air travel can be costly, especially when booking family travel, so it’s no surprise many people turn to budget airlines to save a few bucks. No-frills airlines sell seats that, at first glance, seem to be great deals, but like most things that seem too good to be true, are they really worth it?


In short, they are only worth it if your goal is to fly solo from one location to another with nothing larger than a small backpack in your possession. If, however, you actually need to bring more than a night’s worth of clothing or want to be seated together as a family, you just may find yourself spending way more than you would at a higher-priced airline.


When you purchase a ticket on a budget airline, you get a bare-bones fare. Budget airlines then give you the opportunity to pay for each perk the airline can think of, such as bringing a carry-on bag or, in some cases, even talking to a desk agent at the airport. Some airlines even go so far as to charge you up to $25 per boarding pass if you want them printed at the airport. For a family of four with more than one leg to their trip, this can add up to a significant expense, especially on top of bag fees and seat preferences.


When purchasing these perks, it is cheaper to buy them ahead of time because the price jumps exponentially if you wait until you arrive at the airport — and you can be sure they will be measuring your bag before boarding to determine if it is big enough to charge you. In the end, after adding all the additional expenses (not to mention in-flight food or beverages should you get hungry or thirsty), these additional charges often end up costing far more than the cost of the ticket itself.


If, like most people, you don’t enjoy being nickel and dimed for every aspect of your flight (after you’ve already paid for your ticket, no less!), splurge for the airline that charges full price upfront. In the end, you will likely pay less for your trip and avoid that unpleasant feeling of being taken advantage of.


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