When planning a trip, cost is always a consideration. Our natural instinct leans towards not spending a lot of money on a flight and use the money saved on our vacation / holiday. It even becomes more tempting to save on our flight when we read, “Low airfares,” “$99 One-way,” or “Children fly free,” for example. Seeing these ads can make us forget about the consequences and deal with them later. Unfortunately then consequences when a planning flight goes wrong can be several hundred to several thousand dollars. How do we known if the cost is worth it and if it can work for us? When planning a flight it is important to think about the total journey and not how to save a few quick dollars. This leads to the question, what is a better choice a budget airline or a commercial carrier?
To begin with a budget airline is an airline that tends to offer flights at low cost, flights offered tend to be short-haul, they tend not to code share with commercial airlines, and they tend not to use a hub system instead using point-to-point flight structure. This means the airline is cost conscious trying to keep their planes in the air in order to generate revenue; it may also means they may charge a lot of extras and it may mean some of their flights land at smaller airports near large airports in order to save on landing fees.
So who might choose a budget airline? There are a lot people who choose a budget airline such as student flying home on break, someone working for a small business who is travelling long distance for a meeting, a couple wanting a weekend get-away, or a family trying to have a holiday / vacation, to name a few. For these individuals and others budget airline offers them a cheap fare with frequent flights.
Flying a budget airline may seem like a panacea for those who fly. For those who have the time, a budget airline can offer a great way to say money but for others it can pose challenges. The issues faced by a traveller will vary by country but there are some universal issues to consider. Some budget airlinesmay advertise they fly to large city but the airport they fly into is maybe several miles from the city advertised, thereby adding cost. Another potential drawback is if there is an onward flight. In many situations when using a budget airline, if the flight is delayed and you miss a connect flight with a commercial airline then you may not be entitle to compensation for missing the flight. Also, it will mean checking-in again for the onward flight. This becomes a
major headache for those who are travelling internationally since a missed flight could cost hundreds or thousands of dollars more. Plus those travelling with young children, having to recheck-in or missing a connecting flight may create more problems than saving a few dollars is worth. Third issue is the added costs in order to make the flight profitable. Granted the fare maybe cheap but reading the fine print may make the flight more expensive then booking with a commercial airline.
So what is better a budget airline or a commercial airline? The answer comes down the needs of the traveller including time they have available and the costs. For those who are looking to save a few dollars by flying a budget airline to a major hub in order to connect to an international flight, it may be worth flying a commercial airline. However those who are looking at a weekend get-away or a student looking to go home during a vacation / holiday time then a budget airline might be alright.