When you’re travelling abroad it’s always tempting to shop around for the cheapest airline to get you to your destination. Which is entirely understandable – the hotel or apartment will most likely already have cost you a packet and that’s before you start to take things like food, drink and nightlife into account. But my advice would be to stop and think before hitting the send button to buy that bargain basement ticket out of some remote backwater in the middle of the night to save the cost of a meal and a few bottles of vino.
For a start it may not be cheaper when all things have been considered. Many people don’t factor in the cost of getting to and from the airport of departure, and sometimes the airport of destination can be a little off the beaten track too. Taxis and transfer buses all cost money, and when you add that to the cost of your flight sometimes the saving becomes less of a deciding factor.
Add-Ons For This and Add-Ons For That
Most budget airlines are able to offer seats at a ridiculously low price because they make their money up in other ways. If you have a suitcase they charge you extra, if you want to reserve a seat they charge you more still. Then there’s “speedy boarding” – paying for the privilege of sitting on the plane for longer than everybody else before it takes off. Come on, for heaven’s sake – you all arrive at the same time.
I often find myself wondering what would happen if everyone on the flight paid to be checked in first!
Then there are the drinks and the food on the plane. The plain sandwiches and very basic snacks are hardly haute cuisine, but you would think you were dining at Harrods from the prices. And they don’t have to worry about anyone drinking too much on the flight because nobody could afford it. I know this only too well, become I’m one of those who used to have to defend the tariff to the startled passengers. On a proper airline, of course, food is usually an integral part of the package and drinks are complimentary.
Delays are More Frequent
The other big consideration has to be delays. Time spent at the airport before taking off may be part of the overall holiday experience, but you don’t want to be spending half your holiday there. A survey by the Civil Aviation Authority in August 2017 showed that London’s Gatwick and Luton airports – both dominated by cut-price airlines – were the worst in the country for hold-ups whilst Heathrow, used by most of the national carriers, fared considerably better.
There is also, of course, the problem of pound-shop airlines operating out of pound-shop airports, which can be remote and often difficult to get to. The further out an airport is the more it is going to cost you to get there – and home again.
Sometimes the hassle just isn’t worth it. A holiday is a special experience that you will have worked hard and saved up for so travel in comfort and live a little.