How to Travel with a Discount Airline Without Paying the Extras
Low-Fare Airlines, Budget Airfare, Cheap Airlines, Discount Airfare...
...no matter what you call it, there are some great discount airlines that keep your flight to a SUPER cheap fare. But with this low-fare airline, there are always lots of extras.
But, this is all you need to know:
How to Travel with a Discount Airline WITHOUT Paying all the extras!
We are giving away all our cheap flight secrets!
Guys, I flew from Los Angeles to Chicago for $19.10!
The Airfare cost .93 cents and the taxes and fees brought it up to $19.10.
That was probably the cheapest thing I bought that day.
Getting to the airport in an Uber cost more…
Food for the day, more…
And Parking for the trip...more!
There are deals like this all the time, and for the most part, I average about $50 for a one way across country. I find lots of $36 one way flights... $48, $59, etc. There are SUPER Cheap flights available with discount airline!!
As I am writing this article, I am actually on a one-way flight from LAX to ORD (Chicago) on a ticket I paid $28.20 for.
But yes, there is a catch.
When you buy your ticket with these discount airlines...you pay to get on the plane and fly to your destination, but you pay EXTRA for EVERYTHING else.
That is, if you have to. (Which you already know...we don't!)
Things not included in your cheap airfare…
-Food and Drinks
Other things they try to charge for:
-Front of the Line Boarding
-Check-in at the airport with a live person
-Oxygen Masks in case of emergency (I’m kidding!!)
But we’re here to teach you how to bypass all those extras and get there with just your $36 ticket!
Adding a bag can cost you $35 (minimum)…yes, I was cheaper to fly than my bag!
Almost 50% cheaper on this specific flight.
BUT every airline, even these super cheap ones allow you to bring one “personal item” Fo’ Free!!
Every airline is different in the dimensions the bag has to be, so be sure to look those up before you fly. (You definitely dont want any baggage fees at the gate because your bag doesn’t fit.)
This personal item is suppose to be able to fit under the seat in front of you. If it matches the dimensions, it doesn’t matter what you bring. It can be a large purse, backpack, duffle bag…whatever you can fit in that little bin at the airport…you get to bring for free.
They will also charge MORE the closer your flight gets. If you have to bring a bag, it is always cheaper to pay for it when you book your ticket. More if you log back on to buy it, even more if you do it at the airport, and can be $100 if you buy it at the gate after boarding has started. (And they WILL MAKE you buy it, if your bag doesn't fit!)
That’s not all though…We want to share a little secret we use on all of our flights….
But before we tell you, we must first state that this has been from our experience alone, and although we have never had any problems with doing any of this, be sure to use caution and have a back up plan if this doesn’t work for you. (Like shoving your extras in a friends bag or something).
We ALWAYS carry on our jackets and sweatshirts, and never pack them in our bags. These items are not included in the baggage restrictions, so should never count against you. Carry them on, wrap them around your waist, tie them to your bag. Don't waste that valuable space with something you can just carry.
Here's from some of the airlines themselves... (but be sure to check with your airline baggage restrictions)...
"You can bring one personal item and bring items like an umbrella, camera, infant diaper bag, assistive devices, outer garments (e.g., coats, hats and wraps), reading material and food for the flight for no additional charge."
I have carried on 3 jackets before and 2 sweatshirts without being told no. We just don't recommend overdoing it...like I tend to do! ;)
2. Wear your biggest pair of shoes on the plane. And/or tie your sneakers outside of your bag and have them hanging off of it. That will give you lots more room in your bag to pack other things that you might need.
3. Be sure to pack in a duffle bag, or backpack, or something that can squish down in the bin, in case you have to push it to make it fit. Some airlines charge for bags that have wheels no matter what…so dont bring a bag with wheels! (If your bag doesn’t fit and they catch you at boarding, it can be up to a $100 charge to let your bag on…don't get caught having to pay that…we’re trying to save money, not spend money!)
4. Carry your water bottle, book, laptop, etc. while you board. Now this one can get a bit tricky. Although I have never had any problems with this, I always make sure I can shove it in my bag someway/somehow, IF the airline workers decided to ask me to measure my bag. Again, don't overdo it and cause attention to yourself.
5. And my own personal quick tip…try packing in 2 bags. Your regular “personal sized item” and a mini bag that you can pack inside. That way, when you get on the plane, you can grab your small bag that should have everything you need for the flight, and put your other bag up in the bins. On these discounted airlines, the bins are NEVER full, because a lot of people don't pay for carryons…so there's always plenty of space. And you can have that much extra leg room. Of course, if it did become full, you would just put your bag under the seat…no worries.
FOOD AND DRINKS INCLUDING WATER
These discount airlines pinch every penny, to bring you the lowest fare possible. That means no free food, or drinks, and yes, that includes water. That’s why we recommend always traveling with a reusable water bottle. This water bottle of course, needs to be empty before going through security at the airport, but once you pass security, you can fill it up. Lots of airports now have a “Water Bottle Refiling Station” where you just set you water bottle down, and it will fill it (fast) for you. Others, you’re stuck to old times, and filling it at the water fountain…(1st world problems).
Also, bring your own food! To save the most money, we recommend bringing in your own outside food rather than buying ANYTHING at the airport. The airport prices for food and drink are high, so grab your $5 foot long, homemade sandwiches, cheese its, M&M’s, Beef Jerky, etc, from the store and save yourself lots of money. Oh, and bring gum too!
And this one can be the weirdest and the one with the most gamble, but when flying these discount airlines, you don't get to pick where you want to sit…for free. You must pay. Prices go from $9 for picking the very back seats to $60 picking the “Big comfy seats up front”.
Discount airlines may be the place to splurge if you’ve always wanted to sit first class, just keep in mind, it's just for the seat. It's a bigger seat and more leg room, but they aren’t giving you the first class treatment or anything special. May be worth it on a long flight, but we are all about saving money, so we never really opt for that option. $60 to us, means almost a roundtrip ticket across country again, so we’re the savvy saver type! ;)
The gamble you take with not selecting (and paying for) your own seat, is that you can end up in a back, middle seat. Blah! I’ve had a bunch of these before, but again, for $36 flights, can’t complain. Plus, when I click “check me in” on the online check in…I say a little prayer, and it actually turns out in my favor a lot! (Shout out to the big man upstairs!)
But, here’s another one of our secrets…
...and if you weren’t my loyal readers, I may have just kept this one for myself, because it can be gold.
On these discount airlines, because people have to pay for their seats, a lot of people will stick to the cheaper ones or take the gamble and just let the machine pick for them, so they don't have to pay…hey, that's us!
However, I have learned that if you ask at your gate very politely if they “need volunteers in the emergency exit row”, 4 out of 5 times, I am told yes, and I get the seat I want. The window in the emergency exit row. So, now I have my seat preference (the window) and I have extra leg room, ALL FOR FREE!! So be sure to try that. I was told once that I would have to pay to change my seat…(the flight was not full, and I was stuck in a middle seat)…I said no thanks, and then asked the flight attendant on the plane if I would be able to move to an available middle seat after takeoff. They said yes. So always ask. Worst thing they can do is say no! :)