According to research by a major price comparison website*,budget airlines havebeen hiking up charges for extra services over the past 12 months. Fees for allocated seating, priority boarding, checked-in luggage, overweight bags and ticket changes have all risen and in some cases by as much as 66 per cent compared to last year. The study also found that airline extras can make up 65 per cent of ticket prices in some instances.
Some charges are impossible or difficult to avoid, but others can be bypassed. With that in my mind, here aresixsteps to keep down the costs of budget airline travel this year.
1. Choose carefully
A price comparison website will highlight the minimal fee for travelling on a particular airline. Extra charges vary enormously between airlines so before committing to a booking, make sure you’re clear on your requirements, as well as the associated costs. The Civil Aviation Authority website has a very useful and regularly updated chart of airline fees.
2. Send your bags separately
When travelling with certain budget airlines, the most cost effective way to transport your baggage is with a door to door luggage delivery service. Not only can forwarding luggage directly to your destination save you money, but your airport arrival and departure process will be a lot speedier.
3. Forget priority boarding
The earlier you check in, the better your chances are of sitting together on a flight, and for those airlines with unallocated boarding, just make sure you get to your departure gate as early as possible. Priority boarding on Ryanair costs £56 for four passengers on return flights, money that can be saved with a little forward-planning and time management.
4. Check in online
Many budget airlines now chargea fee for checking in at the airport! You can save money by checking in online but make sure that you don’t forget to print off your boarding card. Jet2 charge £17.50 to reissue a boarding card at the airport and charges are even greater with Ryanair. Failure to check in online and print off your boarding card means you are liable to pay its £70 fine.
5. Get everything right when you make your booking
We can all be guilty of a littlespontaneity, especially if we see a holiday or flight that seems too good to miss. Before you commit to paying for a flight, be sure that the dates are correct, check your diary (twice) and make sure that the people in your travelling party are all available. Airlines are imposing huge fees if you make changes to your booking. Ryanair can charge up to £160 for a name change while flight change fees can cost up to £90 per person.
6. Pay by debit card
Earlier this year the UK Government introduced a ban on excessive fees for payments made with debit and credit cards. The result is that debit card charges have all but disappeared but many airlines still charge for credit card payments, mainly due to the extra consumer protection they provide. Paying with a debit card means you will save money, but you are more exposed.
Author Bio: Adam Ewart is the founder of Send My Bag, international couriers that help travellers to save money by shipping their bags to, from and within the UK. For more information on shipping to Australia or one of the other 45 countries Send My Bag services, please visit sendmybag.com.