This post is all about Are Budget Airlines Worth It?

Commercial air travel is a relatively new concept. In fact, the first passenger flight only dates back just over a hundred years to 1914 from Tampa to St. Petersburg.

Despite this first successful passenger flight, commercial air travel was slow to take off (not literally, but figuratively) and didn't start gaining popularity until the 1920s.

History Of Commercial Air Travel - Vintage Propeller Airplane
History Of Commercial Air Travel - Vintage Propeller Airplane

According to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, only 6,000 passengers were transported by airplanes in 1930 and it expanded to 1.2 million by 1938.

This is a stark contrast to commercial air travel today with over 100,000 flights carrying approximately 6 million people or 0.1% of the world's population reported to take off and land every day all around the world. What a time to be alive!

History Of Commercial Air Travel - Modern Air Travel At London Heathrow
History Of Commercial Air Travel - Modern Air Travel At London Heathrow

In the mid 1900s, flying was so expensive, which meant it was very exclusive. Even leading it to be named 'the golden age' of air travel.

In 1970, a return flight between New York and London retailed for $550. With inflation, that's around $5,350 today.

This is not the case anymore. In fact, airline ticket prices have dropped by 50% in the last 30 years meaning that flying is now one of the quickest, most cost-effective and convenient ways to travel.

This post covers Are Budget Airlines Worth It?.

5 Advantages Of Budget Airlines

1. Cheap Flights

This one is quite an obvious point and probably the main reason you're going to be booking with a budget airline.

If you're a budget traveller or are trying to save money to spend on your actual holiday, then cheap flights are a fantastic option for you.

By budget airlines offering cheap flight tickets, it has allowed travel to become affordable and accessible to everyone.

2. Lots Of Companies To Choose From

It's a competitive market out there for budget airlines offering cheap flights including Ryanair, WizzAir, FlyBe, EasyJet and Vueling - you'll never be short of options!

You can also use a flight comparison site like Skyscanner or Google Flights to scour through all these companies and the prices they are offering to help you find the cheapest option. These flight comparison sites might even be able to get you a further discount on the price.

3. Travel To Exciting New Destinations

Budget airlines fly to some random destinations around the world; places that you wouldn't have previously thought about going too. This gives you the opportunity to explore new destinations!

4. Opportunistic Stop-Overs

It’s not always cheapest to fly direct to your chosen country. In fact, some of the cheapest flights I’ve seen include a stop-over in another destination.

Long stop-overs can be a great opportunity to leave the airport and explore the new destination you're in.

In fact, I booked a £47 flight to Jordan from Edinburgh, which included a 20-hour stop-over in Warsaw. This allowed me to see a bit of this city, instead of just wasting time in the airport.

5. Safety

You might think that because the tickets are cheap, the budget airlines would have to scrimp on other parts of the trip like the safety of the airplane.

However, this isn't the case. Budget airlines have to meet the same safety standards as expensive airlines. So, you can rest assured that you're just as safe on your cheap flight!

Advantages Of Budget Airlines - Lots Of Companies To Choose From
Advantages Of Budget Airlines - Lots Of Companies To Choose From

7 Disadvantages Of Budget Airlines

1. Baggage Restrictions

Baggage restrictions were already ridiculously small for budget airlines. However, there are airlines who in the last few years have actually reduced their acceptable carry-on sizes further.

I took a recent flight with Ryanair and I was recently shocked to find that they've now limited their carry-on size to a small personal bag (40 x 25 x 20cm) and if I wanted to add luggage, it would cost an arm and a leg!

2. Hidden Fees And Extra Charges

Everything costs and nothing is free, this should be the tagline for budget airlines.

Not even the check-in at the airport is free for some budget airlines. In fact, you have to check-in before you go to the airport.

Don't even think about booking a seat or checking-in 48 hours before departure because surprise, surprise, you'll be charged then too!

When you go to book the flight, you will have to go through about 4 pages of them trying to sell you things and then, when you get on the flight, they will try their hardest to get you to buy something.

Also, don't even think about changing the name of your booking, changing the travel dates or cancelling your booking, it simply won't be worth the fees!

3. Uncomfortable Seats

Let's be honest, you aren't going to be travelling in style on these budget airlines. The seats are cramped together and can be quite small and uncomfortable.

4. Long Stop-Overs

If you are stuck in an airport where there isn't much to do for 5+ hours, then it can get boring, very boring.

There is nothing worse than being in an airport on your way home from a holiday with uncomfortable seats and no where to eat.

You might find yourself wishing that you'd just spent that extra money to fly home direct.

5. Fly To Obscure Airports

To save some money, the budget airline can sometimes fly to obscure, out-the-way airports.

Just bear this in mind and do your research on how much it will cost to get from this airport into the city centre or to your destination. You may find that it costs more than taking that dearer flight to a much closer airport.

6. Plane Is On A Conveyor Belt

I've lost track of the amount of times that I've flew with a budget airline and been waiting at the gate 30-minutes before my flight is meant to depart and the plane still hasn't shown up.

For the plane then to land, be refuelled, load all the new passengers on and take-off again, which can be a very quick and sometimes stressful experience.

These planes can be on a bit of a conveyor belt to fit in as many flights in a day as possible.

There can also be delays in take-off and arrival to your destination, which can mean you can miss connecting flights or other methods of transport, or the flight could even be cancelled.

7. Bad Travel Times

To save money budget airlines can sometimes schedule their flights at off-peak times, including really early in the morning or really late at night.

I can remember this happening to me when I was flying home from Barcelona to Glasgow Prestwick Airport, which is about 40-mins from Glasgow.

We didn't arrive at Glasgow Prestwick until about 11pm or midnight and by that time, all the public transport had stopped and our only option was to pay for a taxi up to Glasgow.

The taxi to Glasgow cost an absolute fortune making our cheap flight not worth it! So, do your research before you go and make sure you can get onward travel when you reach your destination.

Disadvantages Of Budget Airlines - Uncomfortable and Cramped Seats
Disadvantages Of Budget Airlines - Uncomfortable and Cramped Seats

My Own Experience With Budget Airlines

Over the years, I've found some VERY cheap flights including a £6.50 flight from Wroclaw to Glasgow, £18 flight from Bucharest to Zadar, £31 flight from Edinburgh to Brussels (return) and £47 flight to Jordan.

However, it's definitely not all sunshine and roses. For example, one of my flights home from Dubrovnik involved a 15-hour nighttime stop-over in Wroclaw, Poland.

The Wroclaw airport had no comfortable places to sleep, so I was sprawled on the floor with a really bad cold. As you can imagine, I didn't get a greats night sleep.

Also, having travelled on a budget airline to Wroclaw, I had no food on the plane and by the time I reached Wroclaw airport, there were no shops open to get dinner or something to eat.

It wasn't a great experience and even though the flight was cheap, I probably would've paid the extra £'s to get home on a direct flight.

That being said, this was one experience. I've flew multiple times with budget airlines and had no complaints.

With cheap flights, you really have to weigh up the bad with the good and see if they are actually worth it!

VERDICT: Are Budget Airlines Worth It?

Yes, I absolutely think budget airlines are worth it! In my opinion, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, especially if you are on a tight budget.

It gives you the opportunity to see the world without breaking the bank. An opportunity that you wouldn't have had a couple of decades ago!

You have to weigh up whether you can be bothered with the inconveniences that come with budget airlines like stop-overs, ridiculous baggage restrictions and uncomfortable seats.

Sometimes the things that can go wrong or are considered 'inconveniences' with budget airlines can provide interesting stories and memories that help you remember your trip.

If there's not much price difference between a cheap and slightly dearer flight with less inconveniences, then the dearer flight might be the right option for you!

Advantages and Disadvantages Of Budget Airlines
Advantages and Disadvantages Of Budget Airlines

This article has covered whether Budget Airlines are worth it? If it has helped you, please consider subscribing to my blog to be kept up to date with new posts or sharing it to help others!

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog post.

Kirsty x

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