Much has been said in the media lately about the budget airlines that soon will offer $69 (each way) flights from the USA to Europe. While a sub $200 round trip flight to Europe might sound great, there are a few things to take into consideration:
- These are bare bones fares. You will have to pay for checked baggage, 2nd piece carry on, seat assignment and even food! The second piece carry on cost an average of $20 so unless you are traveling with nothing but a purse or backpack, you have to add $40 to your total fare. If you don't want to get stuck in the middle seat, you will have to pay for advanced seat assignments. After you add some of these costs (not including checked baggage) your far will be over $300.
- Yes, around $300 for a flight to Europe still is a GREAT deal. But more and more, the big carriers (Delta, AA, United) are offering fares for around $400 (I have seen many of these pop up lately). They usually offer checked baggage, food, carry on and advanced seat assignment for free. Not to mention earning frequent flight miles for award flights and elite status.
- These super low cost flights are limited. And while you may find it going one way, you are likely to have to pay more on the other way. Sometimes, a lot more!
- Lesser known / out of the way airports: Sometimes they are able to offer cheap fares because they fly to airports that charges less landing/take off fees. Make sure you know where these airports are and how much it will cost for ground transportation to your final destination.
Yes, we all get excited when we see these deals! But it is important for you to do the math depending on your travel needs and research which is the best option for you. If you MUST check baggage, these low cost airlines may not be the great deal you were hoping for.