I know I’m a diva about air travel. I have favourite airports* and also most hated airports**. To be clear, I think more competition, and anything that gets more people travelling and exploring the world is a good thing. These comments refer to European budget airlines.
It’s Not Actually Much Cheaper
OK – sometimes it really is. But the advertised “super cheap” rates are really hard to find. Then, often when you’ve added all the fees for baggage, checking in, boarding, credit card charges etc etc it comes to not far off a regular airline cost!
I’m much happier having one price, and making one decision – all the extras mean multiple decisions.
Super Early “Boarding” Time
The “boarding time” is when you need to get in the queue… and it’s a long time before the actual departure time. Sometimes the queue is even outside, because one of the ways they save money is by not using the walkways. Not pleasant in winter!
And then you fly into a tiny airport that’s often not actually that near your destination. So, longer drive to where you are going (and, more expensive if you’re not renting a car but taking a cab or public transport – if there is any), long queue at passport control for the 1-2 agents, and poor facilities – so expect a queue for the bathroom, too.
The thing I’m mainly short of is time – and flying budget airlines are full of extra costs in terms of time, as well as in money. When air travel is a nice experience, short queues, maybe a little light shopping, and a nice cup of tea in the lounge, it’s like my vacation starts there. In an endless queue with a bunch of other grumpy people carrying as much as they can to avoid the baggage fees… it’s something to endure in the hope that the experience at the destination is worth it.
* Vancouver (to clear US customs, also I love the Fluevog exhibit), Tokyo (great sushi and the best chocolate in the world), Dubai (such great people watching – every kind of national dress).
** Toronto (for clearing US customs), Beijing (horrible queues for Immigration, poor signage, long waits for trains), Bangalore (worst lounge, nowhere to sit, just 2 bathrooms, separate queues for men and women – and of course all the children are in the women’s queue, so it took forever).